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Liberty Comes Up Short in Title Contest

May 24, 2008  Danville, Va.  RSS
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Cody Brown was one of five Flames named to the 2008 Big South All-Tournament team.

Cody Brown was one of five Flames named to the 2008 Big South All-Tournament team.

Trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning, No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina rallied with eight unanswered runs to capture the 2008 Big South Championship with a 9-2 victory over the No. 2 seed Liberty Flames, Saturday afternoon at Dan Daniel Memorial Park.

Liberty, which had forced a second title contest with a 13-1 win over the Chanticleers earlier in the day, finishes the season at 35-26-1. The Flames end up as the tournament runners-up for the third-straight year. Liberty set a tournament record for total runs during the Big South Championship with 55. Ranked No. 13 in the nation, Coastal Carolina, the winner of the tournament title for the second-straight year, moves to 47-12.

Liberty jumped on the scoreboard with a run in the top of the first inning. Kenneth Negron (Jr., 2B, Kingwood, Texas) was hit by a pitch to lead off the game. The Flames second baseman moved to second base on a ground out by Errol Hollinger (Jr., C, Upland, Calif.). Two batters later, Cody Brown (Jr., 3B, Boca Raton, Fla.) laced a two-out single to right field to score Negron and stake the Flames to a 1-0 lead.

Coastal Carolina, the home team, put runners on the corners in the third inning with one out. However, Liberty starter David Stokes (Sr., RHP, Locust Grove, Okla.) was able to strike out Chanticleers catcher Dock Doyle and then, the Flames were able to catch baserunner Scott Woodward attempting to steal home on the play, extinguishing the threat.

In the fourth inning, Coastal Carolina knotted the game at 1-1. With one out, Tommy Baldridge doubled off the wall in left center field and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After the next batter flew out, shortstop Tyler Bortnick singled through the middle to plate Baldridge with the equalizer.

Liberty loaded the bases in the fifth inning with one out. Aaron Phillips (Sr., SS, Claremore, Okla.) singled, Negron walked and Hollinger singled to fill the sacks with Flames. The next batter, David Giammaresi (Sr., 1B, Coral Springs, Fla.), then sent a grounder to shortstop, which Chanticleer shortstop Bortnick booted for an error, allowing Phillips to score for a 2-1 Flames advantage.

Coastal Carolina came right back in the bottom of the frame to take its first lead of the contest. Second baseman Rico Noel opened the home half of the fifth by lining a triple off the center field wall. Third baseman Woodward followed by blooping a double into right center field to bring home Noel and tied the game. Woodward then moved to third base on a fly out to center field by center fielder David Sappelt and beat the throw to the plate on a ground out to first by Doyle for a 3-2 advantage.

The Chanticleers stretched their lead with a quartet of sixth-inning runs. Baldridge singled to left to begin the frame. Two batters later, he moved to second base on a wild pitch and then scored on a two-out single by designated hitter Jose Iglesias. Noel followed with a run-scoring double to make it, 5-2. Woodward continued the scoring outburst with a single to bring home Noel. Sappelt doubled for the Chanticleers' fourth-straight two-out hit, a RBI double over the left fielder's head, giving Coastal Carolina a 7-2 advantage.

The Chanticleers added two more runs in the seventh frame on a single by Iglesias.

Liberty's Stokes takes the loss to finish the season at 8-6. The right-hander gave up seven runs on 13 hits, striking out two and walking one. Coastal Carolina reliever Joey Haug, the second Chanticleer pitcher of the game, picks up the win to move to 7-0 on the year.

Hollinger had two hits for the Flames, while Woodward and Baldridge each had three hits in the contest for the Chanticleers.

Liberty outfielder Jeff Jefferson, third baseman Brown, designated hitter Garrett Young, along with pitchers Dustin Umberger and Steven Evans were 2008 Big South All-Tournament team members.

C: Dock Doyle, Coastal Carolina and John Murrian, Winthrop
INF: Alex Gregory, Radford
INF: Cody Brown, Liberty
INF: Tyler Bortnick, Coastal Carolina (MVP)
INF: Bryn Henderson, Winthrop
OF: Jeff Jefferson, Liberty
OF: David Sappelt, Coastal Carolina
OF: Reggie Keen, Radford and Tommy Baldridge, Coastal Carolina
DH: Garrett Young, Liberty
UTL: Joey Haug, Coastal Carolina
P: Ryan Mullins, Winthrop
P: Dustin Umberger, Liberty and Steven Evans, Liberty