Third baseman Tyler Galazin's two-out home run in the 10th, propelled the No. 3 seed Liberty Flames past the No. 6 Radford Highlanders, 3-2, Thursday afternoon in Game 9 of the 2018 Big South Baseball Championship at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
With two out in the 10th and behind in the count, 2-2, Galazin lined his fourth home run of the season into the left field bullpen for the 3-2, walk-off win.
Liberty raises its record to 31-25 overall and advances to face No. 1 seed Campbell, tomorrow at 10 a.m. Liberty will need force a second game later on Friday to advance to Saturday's final with a win, while Campbell moves into the final with just a single victory. Radford's season comes to a close at 25-32.
Hits were at a premium over the first seven innings. The two teams managed three hits combined, as Liberty had two and Radford manage just one.
The Flames converted their first hit in to the first run of the contest in the second. Shortstop Cam Locklear lined a double inside the third base bag and into the left field corner to open the inning. After moving to third on a ground out to second base by left fielder Ayden Karraker, Locklear scored on a sacrifice bunt by first baseman Dylan Allen for a 1-0 edge.
After being held scoreless through the first four innings, Radford cashed in a walk to knot the game at 1-1. Right fielder Adam Szamski drew the base on balls, leading off the inning. Szamski advanced to second and third on wild pitches. Two batters later, left fielder Garrett Matheny chopped a grounder to shortstop, plating Szamski and tying the game at 1-1.
The Highlanders pushed across a run in the sixth without a hit. Shortstop Luke Belanger walked to open the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Belanger moved to third on a grounder by second baseman Kyle Butler with one out. Belanger then scored on a wild pitch for 2-1.
Liberty tied the game in the eighth. Right fielder Brandon Rohrer reached when Highlander reliever Austin Gerber dropped first baseman Spencer Horwtiz's throw on a grounder behind the bag to open the inning. Second baseman Ben Highfill followed with a single, moving Rohrer to third. Two batters later, catcher Jonathan Embry lined a one-out single into left field to bring home Rohrer to knot the game at 2-2.
With center fielder D.J. Artis, who reached on a fielder's choice, on second and Embry on first, the Flames had Embry thrown out second on an attempted double steal. Galazin walked to put runners on the corners, Radford pitcher Kyle Palmer struck out designated hitter Tre Todd, ending the inning and preventing Liberty taking the lead.
Locklear led off the Liberty ninth with a double off the wall, but was left in scoring position, sending the game to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, catcher Straton Podaras walked with one out and advanced to third on a two-out single by designated hitter Will Harless, Radford's first hit with a runner on base. However, Podaras tried to score on a wild pitch, but tagged out by Flames catcher Embry to end the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, Radford's Cameron Fritz retired the first two Liberty batters, before Galazin connected to give the Flames the win.
Price moves to 7-4 on the season. The right-hander pitched 4 2/3 innings in relief of Liberty starter Vinnie Tarantola. He allowed two hits and walked one.
Fritz finishes his year with a 3-2 record. He gave up one run on two hits in the bottom of the 10th.
Liberty had six hits and did not commit an error. Radford managed three hits and made two errors.
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