Pitcher Shawn Clowers
Despite a strong relief performance by Shawn Clowers, the Liberty Flames could not overcome an early 5-0 deficit, falling to the Ohio Bobcats, 5-4, Sunday in game four of the Battle of the Beach at Brooks Stadium.
With Liberty trailing 5-0 and a runner on second and one out in the fourth, Clowers entered the game and allowed the Flames to climb back into the contest. The left-hander pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings. The junior scattered four hits, while striking out four. He did not walk a batter.
Liberty falls to 3-4 on the season. Ohio moves to 2-3. Seven of the nine runs in the contest were scored with two outs.
Ohio staked itself to a 4-0 advantage in the top of the first inning. Center fielder Mitch Longo led off the contest with his first home run of the season for a 1-0 quick Bobcat advantage. Later in the frame, catcher Nick Bredeson dropped a two-out, bases loaded single into right field to plate two more runs for a 3-0 lead. Ohio then added a run on a double steal for a 4-0 lead. The Bobcats extended its advantage with a two-out run in the second. Left fielder Chandler Geller lined a triple into the right field corner and scored on a bad-hop single by first baseman Jake Madsen.
Held without a hit through the first three innings, Liberty jumped on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, designated hitter Ryan Seiz lifted a double off the left-center field wall for the Flames' first hit. Two batters later, catcher Danny Grauer blasted his second home run of the year over the left field wall, cutting the Bobcat lead to 5-2.
Liberty struck for a two-out run in the sixth. First baseman Alex Close ripped a double off the right-center field wall with two away. Second baseman Nick Salisbury followed by lining a double down the right field line, trimming the Flames' deficit to two at 5-3.
In the seventh, Liberty pushed another run across to close to within one run. Third baseman Dylan Allen opened the inning with a double off the right field wall. Two batters later, left fielder Nick Lacik reached on an infield single and when Bobcat third baseman Tyler Finkler's throw sailed wide of first, Allen scored to make it, 5-4, Ohio.
The Flames moved the tying run to third base in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs, Liberty received back-to-back singles from shortstop Dalton Britt and Allen. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position at second and third. But, Bobcat reliever Nick Nauracy was able to retire Perritt to end the threat and maintain the Ohio advantage on the scoreboard.
Liberty starter Adam Parks falls to 0-1 on the year. The right-hander gave up five runs on six hits over 3 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked two batters.
Ohio starter Jake Rudnicki moves to 1-0 on the season. He allowed three runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five and walked three batters.
Liberty had nine hits in the contest. Grauer and Allen each recorded two hits. Ohio collected 11 hits in the game. Madsen had three hits to lead all hitters.
The Flames will face the host UNCW Seahawks 40 minutes after the conclusion of game five at the Battle of the Beach, this afternoon (approx. 5 p.m.).