Liberty second baseman Will Wagner lifted a bases loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the No. 2 seed Flames a 3-2 victory over the No. 5 seed North Florida Ospreys, Friday evening at Melching Field at Conrad Park in Game 8 of the ASUN Baseball Championship.
Flames right-hander Noah Skirrow and Osprey left-hander Eddie Miller locked in a duel over the final 4 1/3 innings, before the Flames broke through for the walk-off victory in the 12th.
Flames shortstop Cam Locklear had a game-high four hits and scored a run. ASUN Player of the Year, catcher Jonathan Embry, collected two hits, both doubles, and drove in one run for Liberty.
Liberty moves to 39-19 and advances to play No. 4 seed Jacksonville in Game 9, an elimination game, at 11 a.m. The winner will advance to face No. 6 seed Stetson in Game 10 at 3 p.m. North Florida's season comes to an end with a 32-25 mark.
Box Score Highlights Records: North Florida (32-25); Liberty (39-19) Location: DeLand, Fla. (Melching Field at Conrad Park) WP: Noah Skirrow (5-6) | LP: Eddie Miller (3-4)
Scoring Summary UNF – 3rd INNING – Mayberry singles, May scores, 1-0 LIBERTY – 5th INNNIG – Betts flies out, Locklear scores, 1-1 LIBERTY – 5th INNING – Embry doubles, Guy scores, 2-1 UNF – 6th INNING – Prather flies out, Murphy scores, 2-2 LIBERTY – 12th INNING – Wagner flies out, Betts scores, 3-2
Notable Numbers - Liberty outhit North Florida, 10-7. The Ospreys committed two errors. Both proved costly, coming in the 12th inning.
- The Flames left 10 men on base, while the Ospreys left seven, including stranding the go-ahead run at third base in the top of the 11th inning.
- Both Locklear and Embry recorded his 16th multi-hit game of the year. It is also the fifth time this year that Locklear has had three or more hits in a game and he has had two contests with four hits.
- Making his second relief appearance of the season, Skirrow gave up one hit over 4 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.
- Liberty starting pitcher Mason Meyer gave up two runs on six hits through the first 7 2/3 innings. The left-hander struck out five and walked three.
- Ospreys starting pitcher Brandon Reitz allowed two runs on seven hits, before leaving in the sixth inning with a runner on and two outs. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
- In the longest outing of his career, Miller gave up one run, unearned, on three hits over six-plus innings. He struck out three and walked three.
- North Florida designated hitter David Mayberry went 3-for-3 with a RBI in the contest.
Turning Point With both relievers holding their opponents in check, back-to-back North Florida errors opened the door for the Flames to break through in 12th. Left fielder Gray Betts reached on an error by Ospreys shortstop Tanner May, leading off the bottom of the inning. Embry then laid down a bunt to move Betts into scoring positon, but UNF first baseman Alex Reynolds could not handle the throw, allowing both runners to advance to second and third.
Third baseman Tyler Galazin was then intentionally walked to fill the bases with no one out. After the Ospreys cut down a runner trying to score on a ground ball for the first out of the frame, Wagner poked a fly ball into the left-center field gap, scoring Betts for the 3-2 walk-off win.
Beyond the Box Score - For the second straight game, the Flames played extra innings. Liberty is now 3-1 in extra innings this season.
- The contest was the fifth game in the 2019 ASUN Baseball Championship to go into extra innings, the most in a single ASUN Championship ever.
- With his two hits in the contest, Embry extends his hitting streak to 11 games, a career-high.
- Left fielder Gray Betts led off the 10th inning with a single to extend his reached base streak to 33 consecutive games, the longest by a Flame this season.
- Third baseman Tyler Galazin had his career-high hit streak end at 11 games. However, he did walk, extending his on base streak to 14 straight games.
Up Next A schedule change has been announced for the 2019 ASUN Baseball Championship. Liberty will square off with No. 4 seed Jacksonville in Game 9 at 11 a.m. at Melching Field at Conrad Stadium. The winner will advance to face No. 6 seed Stetson, the only team without a loss in the tournament, at 3 p.m. in Game 10. If the Game 9 winner wins Game 10, an if necessary game, Game 11 will be played on Sunday with a time to be announced.