Liberty third baseman Tyler Galazin's two-out, two-run single in the fifth inning proved to be the difference, as the No. 2 seed Flames defeated the No. 5 seed North Florida Ospreys 6-4, Wednesday afternoon in Game 2 of the ASUN Baseball Championship at Melching Field at Conrad Park.
After the Ospreys tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the fifth, the Flames moved runners into scoring position at second and third with two outs. Galazin followed with a single, plating both runners to give Liberty a 5-3 lead en route to the victory.
All-Conference pitchers Andrew McInvale and Evan Brabrand combined to hold North Florida in check in the win.
Liberty moves to 38-18 and will play the winner of tonight's contest between No. 3 seed Lipscomb and No. 4 seed Jacksonville, Thursday at 7 p.m. North Florida falls to 31-24. The Ospreys will face No. 1 seed Florida Gulf Coast in an elimination game tomorrow.
Box Score Highlights Records: North Florida (31-24); Liberty (38-18) Location: DeLand, Fla. (Melching Field at Conrad Park) WP: Andrew McInvale (9-2) | LP: Brad Depperman (6-5) I SV: Evan Brabrand (12)
Scoring Summary LIBERTY – 1st INNING – Mathieu singles, Betts scores, 1-0 LIBERTY – 1st INNING – Wagner singles, Embry scores, 2-0 LIBERTY – 1st INNING – Locklear flied out, Mathieu scores, 3-0 UNF – 5th INNING – Berry singles, Reynolds scores, 3-1 UNF – 5th INNING – Murphy triples, Berry and May score, 3-3 LIBERTY – 5th INNING – Galazin single, Locklear and Wagner score, 5-3 UNF – 7th INNING – Berry grounded out, Reynolds scores, 5-4 LIBERTY – 8th INNING – Mathieu flies out, Betts scores, 6-4
Notable Numbers - Liberty outhit North Florida, 9-6, in the contest. The Flames committed one error in the contest, while the Ospreys made two.
- The Flames left 10 men on base, including leaving the bases loaded in the second inning. The Ospreys left four.
- Galazin has driven in 21 runs with two outs. He is tied for the Liberty lead with first baseman Logan Mathieu.
- McInvale pitched into the seventh inning, leaving with two men on and no outs. He allowed four runs on six hits to record the victory. He struck out seven and walked one.
- Brabrand retired all nine batters he faced after coming on for McInvale with two men on and no outs in the seventh. With his three scoreless innings, he records his 12th save of the season.
- Liberty's ASUN All-Conference second baseman Will Wagner collected his 17th multi-hit game in the contest. Wagner has recorded four multi-hit games in his last seven outing. Right fielder Brandon Rohrer also had two hits in the contest for the Flames.
- The Flames scored five runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings against ASUN Pitcher of the Year Brad Depperman. The right-hander entered the contest with a 2.09 ERA.
Turning Point After the first two North Florida hitters to bat moved into scoring position with Liberty leading 5-3 in the seventh inning, Brabrand was summoned from the bullpen and proceeded to shut down the Osprey bats. The right-hander retired the next nine batters he faced to seal the Flames' victory. In the seventh, North Florida did a plate run with a sacrifice fly to close within one, but was unable to get any closer.
Beyond the Box Score - The Flames made its first appearance in the ASUN Baseball Championship, today. Liberty athletics joined the ASUN Conference in July 2018. In addition, it was the Flames' first neutral site game of the year.
- Liberty remains unbeaten against North Florida, this season. The Flames swept a three-game series from the Ospreys during the regular season at Liberty Baseball Stadium, March 29-31.
- The Flames have not lost when leading after six innings, this season. Liberty is 31-0.
- With his 12th save of the season, Brabrand ties Ashton Perritt (2014) for second on Liberty's single season saves list.
- Galazin has had at least one hit in each of his last 10 games. The hit streak is a career-high for the senior third baseman.
- ASUN Player of the Year Jonathan Embry singled in the contest. With the hit, the catcher pushes his hit streak to nine games, one shy of his career high.
- Left fielder Gray Betts walked in the first inning and was later hit by a pitch to extend his reached base streak to 31 consecutive games, the longest by a Flame this season.
Up Next Liberty will play the winner of tonight's Game 3 of the ASUN Championship between the No. 3 seed Lipscomb Bisons and the No. 4 seed Jacksonville Dolphins. First pitch at Melching Field at Conrad Park is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday evening.