Trey Lambert carried a perfect game into the eighth inning, Saturday.
Flames right-hander Trey Lambert pitched seven perfect innings and first baseman Danny Grauer drove in four runs with four hits, propelling Liberty past the Longwood Lancers, 8-1, in game two of a Big South doubleheader at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Lambert did not allow a Lancer to reach base through the first seven innings, facing the minimum 21 batters. The right-hander ended up pitching the first eight innings, giving up one run on three hits to push his record to 5-1 on the year. He struck out career-high nine batters and walked one.
Grauer provided Lambert plenty of support in the contest, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs. It is the first time Grauer has collected four hits in a game as a member of the Flames. The first baseman's RBI total is also a career single-game high.
With the win, Liberty moves to 6-3 in Big South play and 17-11 overall. Longwood drops to 4-5 in conference action and 12-16 overall. The Flames and Lancers split the doubleheader, as Longwood took the first game, 6-2.
Liberty got off to a quick start, striking for two runs in the opening inning. Right fielder Ashton Perritt singled and moved to third on a double lined down the left field line by second baseman Bryan Aanderud. The Flames then loaded the bases, when center fielder Ryan Cordell's popup in front of home plate was dropped by Lancer catcher Kenny Cassidy.
After Longwood starter Joe Manion retired the next two batters on popouts, Grauer belted a ground rule double to plate two runs for a 2-0 Liberty edge.
The host Flames stretched their advantage with two more runs in the third. With two outs, catcher Trey Wimmer single back through the middle of the infield and scored on a double into the right-center field gap by designated hitter Justin Sizemore. Grauer followed with a sharply hit single near the left field line to bring home Sizemore for a 4-0 lead.
After Lambert held Longwood hitless and without a baserunner through the first seven innings, the Lancers not only broke up the perfect game, but the right-hander's shutout bid in the top of the eighth. First baseman Scott Burkett led off the inning with the visitors' first hit of the contest, a single, and advanced to second on a single by second baseman Scott Dickason. Left fielder Kyri Washington followed with a RBI single to make it 4-1, Flames.
In the bottom of the frame, Liberty scored four runs to put the game out of reach. Sizemore opened the inning with his second double of the contest and scored on a double by Grauer. After moving to third on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Jake Kimble, Grauer came home on a wild pitch by Longwood reliever Dylan Caruso. Three consecutive walks then loaded the bases with Flames for Aanderud, who ripped a two-run single back through the middle for what proved to be the final score of 8-1. Manion takes the loss for the Lancers, falling to 2-2 on the year. The right-hander gave up four runs, two earned, on eight hits over three innings of work. Liberty collected 12 hits in the game. Besides Grauer's four, Aanderud and Sizemore each added two hits. Longwood managed four hits.
Liberty next hosts the No. 5 Virginia Cavaliers at Liberty Baseball Stadium, Tuesday night. First pitch for the sold out game is scheduled for 6 p.m.