The Liberty Flames combined to shut down the Cavaliers, limiting No. 14 Virginia to two hits, en route to an 8-0 victory, Tuesday afternoon at Davenport Field. Liberty pitchers, Tim Dudley, Blake Forslund and Kody Young, combined to hold the Cavaliers in check, recording the fourth shutout of the year for the Flames. The trio allowed only two Virginia runners to reach as far as second base in the contest.
Liberty collected 11 hits in the game, with each Liberty starter having at least one hit. Right fielder Michael Robertson and catcher Trey Wimmer paced the Flames with two hits apiece. Liberty moves to 9-1 on the year. The victory was the first for the Flames against Virginia since a 9-7 win in Lynchburg on March 5, 2002, a span of eight games. The victory was also Liberty's first over a nationally ranked team since the Flames defeated No. 13 Coastal Carolina at the Big South Conference Tournament on May 24, 2008 in Danville, Va. Virginia falls to 5-2-1 on the season.
Liberty opened the contest by mounting a scoring threat in its first at bat of the afternoon. The visiting Flames loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the first inning, but Virginia starter Artie Lewicki retired the next Liberty hitter to keep the Flames off the scoreboard.
In the top of the third inning, Liberty plated the game's first runs to take the lead. With two outs, center fielder Andy Smith, who had walked, stole second and scored on a single by designated hitter Tyler Cox. Second baseman Bryan Aanderud followed with a run-scoring single for a 2-0 advantage. The Flames added to their lead in their next at bat, opening the fourth inning with three extra-base hits. First baseman Ryan Cordell led off the top of the frame by ripping a line drive into the left corner for a triple. Third baseman Dalton Sype followed with a double to give Liberty a 3-0 edge. The next batter, shortstop Zack Haley, blasted a double off the top of the wall, cashing in Sype for a 4-0 lead. Two batters later, Robertson singled home Haley for a 5-0 advantage. In the fifth inning, the Cavaliers advanced their first runner to second base in the game with one out on an error and walk. However, Liberty pitcher Blake Forslund was able to get shortstop Chris Taylor to bounce into a double play to end the frame.
A Virginia error in the top of the sixth inning opened the door for the Flames to extend their lead with three more runs. With two out and the bases loaded, Cavalier second baseman Keith Werman dropped a throw to second base, allowing a run to score and the inning to continue. Wimmer followed with a two-run single, upping Liberty's lead to 8-0.
Dudley, the Flames starter, gave up one hit and struck out one batter, before leaving after 2 1/3 innings due to a stiff back. Forslund followed with 3 2/3 scoreless innings of work to record the win. The right-hander, who transferred to Liberty from Virginia in 2010, did not allow a hit, striking out five batters and walking five to move to 1-0 on the year. Young earned his first save in a Flames uniform, pitching the final three frames, yielding just one hit. Young struck out three batters and walked one. Virginia starter Artie Lewicki takes the loss to drop to 0-1 on the season. He gave up five runs on five hits. The first of six pitchers in the contest for the Cavaliers, Lewicki struck out two and walked two.
Liberty travels to Harrisonburg, Va., tomorrow for a contest with the James Madison Dukes. First pitch at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park is scheduled for 4 p.m.