After Liberty tied the contest in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Tennessee Volunteers pushed across a two-out unearned run in the 10th, defeating the Flames 6-5 and eliminating them from the 2019 NCAA Chapel Hill, N.C. Regional, Sunday at Boshamer Stadium.
Volunteers right-hander Redmond Walsh worked out of a bases loaded, no one out jam in the ninth inning to prevent the Flames from winning and send the game to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, a two-out throwing error moved the go-ahead run to third for Tennessee and Rucker followed with a single to score what proved to be the winning run.
Liberty senior third baseman Tyler Galazin led all hitter with three hits and two RBI in his final game in a Flames uniform.
Liberty finishes the year with a 43-21 record. Tennessee moves to 40-20 and advances to the regional final to play North Carolina later this evening.
Box Score Highlights Records: Tennessee (40-20); Liberty (43-21) Location: Chapel Hill, N.C. (Boshamer Stadium) Attendance: 2,081 WP: Redmond Walsh (2-2) | LP: Evan Brabrand (4-3)
Scoring Summary UT – 1st INNING – Soularie hits into double play, Ammons scores, 1-0 UT – 2nd INNING – Derkay triples, Rucker scores, 2-0 UT – 2nd INNING – Pavolony flies out, Derkay scores, 3-0 LIBERTY – 2nd INNING – Betts singles, Rohrer scores, 3-1 LIBERTY – 4th INNING – Galazin singles, Guy and Highfill score, 3-3 UT – 5th INNING – Lipcius homers, Charleston scores, 5-3 LIBERTY – 5th INNING – Highfill singles, Wagner scores, 5-4 LIBERTY – 9th INNING – Mathieu hit by pitch, Betts scores, 5-5 UT – 10th INNING – Rucker singles, Russell scores, 6-5
Notable Numbers - Just like the contest, hits were even at 14 for each team. Tennessee committed two errors, while Liberty made one.
- Galazin posted his team-high 21st multi-hit game of the season in the contest. The senior finished the year with six three-hit games.
- Flames second baseman Will Wagner, designated hitter Ben Highfill, catcher Jonathan Embry, left fielder Gray Betts and right fielder Brandon Rohrer had two hits apiece.
- Liberty reliever Evan Brabrand pitched 5 2/3 innings, his longest outing of Flames career. The right-hander gave up two runs, one earned, on six hits. He struck out four and walked one. He stranded runners in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth innings.
- Tennessee third baseman Andre Lipcius gave the Volunteers a 5-3 advantage with a two-run home run in the fifth inning with his 17th home run of the year. The third baseman also had three hits and scored a run.
- The top four batters in the Volunteers' lineup had two or more hits in the contest.
Turning Point After Liberty tied the game, but failed to score the winning run in the bottom ninth, Tennessee pushed across the go ahead run in the top of the 10th. Lipcius led off the inning with a single, but was retired on designated hitter Evan Russell's fielder's choice with one out. Shortstop Ricky Martinez then reached on a throwing error by Flames shortstop Cam Locklear to keep the alive and move the Russell to third. Rucker followed with a single to give the Volunteers a 6-5 lead.
Beyond the Box Score - Liberty finishes its year with its most wins in Head Coach Scott Jackson's three seasons and ties for the most wins in school history with the 2010 Flames (43-18).
- The Flames set a new school record for strikeouts with 557. The previous mark of 508 was set when Jackson was the Flames pitching coach in 2008.
- Liberty finishes the year 3-2 in games that went to extra innings.
- Rohrer had a hit in each of Liberty's three contests during the regional, hitting a team-high .462.
- Betts posted a .562 on base percentage during the regional. The Flames leadoff hitter had one hit in every game, five total over the three games, walked three times and was hit by a pitch.
- First baseman Logan Mathieu extended his hit streak to a season-high seven games. He also reached base in 24 consecutive games to close the season. The sophomore led the Flames with 52 RBI, including one this afternoon when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth.
- With a single in the first inning, Embry stretched his reached base safely streak to career-high 20 games. The redshirt junior finished the year as team leader in runs scored with 56.