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Despite Solid Outings by Richardson and Perritt, Liberty Edged by No. 4 Virginia
Flames right-handers Josh Richardson and Ashton Perritt each had strong performances, but the No. 4-ranked Virginia Cavaliers used two first-inning runs to push past Liberty, 2-0, before a sellout crowd of 2,543 at Liberty Baseball Stadium, Tuesday evening.
Richardson, making his first start of the year, falls to 1-2 on the season. The right-hander allowed two runs on three hits over four innings. The junior entered the game not having given up a run in five previous relief appearances. He struck out four batters and walked two.
Perritt took over in the fifth inning and finished the contest for the Flames. The sophomore did not allow a hit or run over final five frames. He struck out six Cavaliers and did not walk a batter.
However, four Virginia pitchers combined to hold the Flames to one hit on the night, en route to shutting out Liberty for the second time in 2012.
Liberty falls to 17-12 overall, while Virginia moves to 26-3. The contest was the first meeting between the two teams in Lynchburg since April 5, 2005.
The visiting Cavaliers scored the only runs of the game in the opening inning. With one out, first baseman Jared King singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Right fielder Joe McCarthy then walked, and both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Mike Papi was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs. Richardson then hit designated hitter Kenny Towns with a pitch to force in the first run of the game. Third baseman Nick Howard followed with an infield single to plate another run for what proved to be the final score of 2-0.
Liberty threatened in the bottom of the second inning, but came away empty. Catcher Trey Wimmer lined a double into the left field corner to open the inning and advance to third base on a flyout by center fielder Ryan Cordell. However, Virginia starter Josh Sborz battled back and retired the next two Flames to end the inning and prevent the Flames from scoring.
From there, the pitchers from both sides took over. The only hit by either team came in the fourth inning, when the Cavaliers' Towns singled to begin the frame.
Sborz moves to 3-0 on the season. The Virginia right-hander allowed one hit over four scoreless innings. He struck out five and did not walk a batter. Kirby Crockett retired the Flames in order in the ninth inning to earn his third save of the season.
While Richardson and Perritt combined to strike out 10 Cavaliers, the four Virginia pitchers combined to fan 14 Flames.
Liberty next steps back into Big South play this weekend with a three-game series against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The series opens at Pelican Park, Friday. First pitch is scheduled for Noon.