Flames baseball sweep weekend series

The Presbyterian College Blue Hose came out ready to fight for a win, but the Liberty Flames baseball team matched the opposing team’s intensity late in the first game to grind out a 6-5 win during its three-game series on April 15 and 17.

Clean up crew — Michael Robertson tees off against the Presbyterian Blue Hose in this weekend’s series. The Flames swept Presbyterian in a Friday night game and a Sunday double header. Photo credit: Kale Golden

The series opener took place on Friday night, and a large crowd gathered at Worthington Stadium to watch the Flames come from behind in the seventh inning, and present a strong defense that finished the game after the top of the ninth.

“Coach told us at the beginning of the game that these guys are going to scrap, and they’re going to claw,” Tyler Bream, the Flames third baseman and team captain said. “We got off to a 3-0 lead in the beginning of the game, but we didn’t do a good job putting them away. They hung around and they eventually took the lead. So what he said came true. They just hang around and if you let them hang around, they’ll eventually come back and bite you.”

Team captain and outfielder Jeff Jefferson said that it was a tough game, as Presbyterian has proven to be a fighting team and gives it their best effort during every game, no matter what the score is. Jefferson said that the Flames had to stay positive.

“It was a tough game,” Jefferson said. “We just tried to hang in there, keep on for each other and with every play, every at-bat, we try to do something big.”

Both teams got three runs early in the game and then, after a lull of uneventful innings, the seventh came alive with hits for both teams. Presbyterian got the lead in the top, but the Flames matched their strong performance in the bottom half and scored the three runs they needed to reclaim the lead.

“The last couple games we’ve been coming back late, so the guys have really been battling a lot,” said Head Coach Jim Toman. “It was very difficult to be done late, but the guys have been responding … and they know that we can come back now.”

Originally, the Flames were going to play a game on Saturday and a game on Sunday, but due to Saturday’s inclement weather, a doubleheader was scheduled for Sunday. Instead, this change of plans meant that the team would have a long day against a capable team.

“It’s going to be a grind all day Sunday,” Bream said. “Playing 18 innings in one day, that’s a lot of innings. We’re just going to have to come out with the same intensity and get it done.”

Toman said that the strategy would not change. The team would take it one game at a time on Sunday.

“After the first (game) is over, you’ve got about 30 minutes to regroup before you go play another one,” Toman said. “It’ll be a long day, but we have to do it.”

The Flames took both Sunday games, 7-1 and 5-2, respectively. Designated hitter Justin Richardson hit a career-high two homeruns in game one.

The weekend’s series against Presbyterian puts the Flames record at 20-16 for the season and 10-5 in the Big South Conference. The team will next travel to Williamsburg, Va., to face the College of William and Mary at 7 p.m. on April 19.

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