Flames baseball falls to Samford in three-game series

The Liberty University Flames baseball team dropped two of three games to Samford April 26-28 in Birmingham, Alabama. The Flames took game one 10-7, but Samford handled Liberty in games two and three with scores of 10-3 and 12-1, respectively.  

In game one, Samford took an early lead with a solo home run from redshirt junior infielder Garrett Staton in the third inning. Liberty answered back with a solo shot from junior infielder Cam Foster in the top of the fourth. After Samford took the lead on senior infielder John Anderson’s solo shot in the bottom of the fourth, the Flames put up six runs in the fifth to take a commanding 7-2 lead. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Samford senior Andrew Bennett hit a grand slam to cut the lead to one and get the Bulldogs back in the game. After clearing the bases, Samford loaded them back up and tied the game on a Staton RBI walk.  

Samford threatened to score, putting runners in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth innings, but the score held at 7-7, and the game went to extras.  

Josh Swink | Photo by Brooke McDuffee

In the top of the 10th, junior outfielder Camden Troyer led off with a walk for the Flames. After senior infielder Aidan Sweatt’s sacrifice bunt and freshman infielder Tanner Marsh’s fly out, Samford elected to intentionally walk sophomore outfielder Kane Kepley, bringing up freshman catcher Macaddin Dye. Dye came through, lacing a single to center field to bring home Troyer.  

“(Dye has) certainly got that clutch gene,” Head Coach Scott Jackson said after the game. 

The Flames added on two more runs with two outs on an RBI single from sophomore catcher Brayden Horton and an RBI walk from sophomore infielder John Simmons. 

Flames junior Cale Bolton, who pitched the ninth, stayed in for the 10th to attempt to lock the game down. Bolton allowed two base runners but got the job done, closing out the game by striking out Staton, Samford’s leader in home runs.  

“I’m really proud of Cale Bolton. Those were some big innings and some big outs,” Jackson said. 

The Flames played very well in game one, but the next two games did not go as well. Liberty lost by a combined score of 22-4. Marsh drove in two runs in game two, but the Flames struggled to hit and pitch in both of the final two games. Liberty was outhit 23-9 in the latter two games of the series. 

Photo by Brooke McDuffee

“The frustrating part for me is just watching the wild pitches and the errors, “Jackson said. “For us, it’s tough. You can’t overcome it.” 

The Flames combined for five errors and eight wild pitches over the latter two games of the series.  

For Samford, Bennett homered twice in game three, giving him three home runs in the series, and Alex Flood pitched six innings, allowing just one run.  

Liberty will head back home to host the Campbell Camels May 1 before jumping back into conference play with a three-game series against FIU in Lynchburg May 3-5. 

Perdew is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *