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Grauer Belts Home Run, as Lambert Goes Distance in Liberty Win
Pinch hitter Danny Grauer ripped a three-run home run to back a complete game gem by Trey Lambert, as the Liberty Flames defeated Charleston Southern, 3-1, Sunday in the final game of a three-game Big South series at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Lambert becomes the first Liberty pitcher to go the full nine innings this season, running his record to 4-0 on the year. The complete game was the first of the junior's career. The Flames right-hander retired the first 10 Buccaneer batters on the afternoon and allowed the visitors only one hit through the first six innings. For the game, he allowed one run on three hits, striking out a career-high six batters and walking one.
Trailing 1-0 in the seventh, Grauer gave Lambert all the run support he needed. With Liberty runners at the corners and two out, Grauer blasted the first pitch he thrown by Charleston Southern reliever Austin Weekly over the left field wall and into the Flames bullpen. The junior's first home run of the season gave Liberty what proved to be the final score of 3-1.
With a sweep of the three-game conference series, Liberty moves to 3-0 in Big South action and 14-6 overall. Charleston Southern falls to 0-3 in league play and 8-13 overall.
Lambert and Buccaneer starter Troy Schroff were locked into a pitchers' duel through the first six innings. While Lambert allowed only one hit and only one runner to reach second base during the span, Schroff matched by holding Liberty to two hits.
The Flames put a scoring threat to together in the second inning. Catcher Trey Wimmer and designated hitter Justin Sizemore received back-to-back walks to open the inning. After a fielder choice grounder by right fielder Nick Paxton, he stole second to put two runners in scoring position with one out. However, Schroff struck out the next two Flames to keep the contest scoreless.
Charleston Southern broke through for the contest's first run in the top of the seventh. Left fielder John Faircloth led off the frame by lining a double into the left field corner. Center fielder Bobby Ison then moved Faircloth to third with a grounder to the right side of the infield. Two batters later, right fielder Chase Shelton plated Faircloth with another fielder's choice ground out to put the Buccaneers in front, 1-0.
Charleston Southern's advantage was erased by one swing of the bat by Grauer in the bottom of the inning. Wimmer began the frame with a double down the left field line. After Wimmer advanced to third on a fly out by Paxton, first baseman Alex Close walked. After Grauer was announced as a pinch hitter, Weekly entered the game, setting up his big hit.
Schroff falls to 3-1 on the season. The left-hander gave up two runs on four hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out four batters and walked four.
Hits were at a premium on the day. Liberty collected six hits. Left fielder Nick Lacik had two for the Flames. Of Charleston Southern's three hits off Lambert, Faircloth had two.
Liberty steps out of conference on Tuesday. The Flames will travel to Blacksburg, Va., for a contest against the Virginia Tech Hokies. Game time at English Field is set for 5:30 p.m.