The Bucknell Bison raced out to an early three-run advantage during the first two innings, en route to a 5-2 win over the Liberty Flames. The loss ended the season for the Flames, Saturday afternoon at Davenport Field in Game 3 of the 2014 NCAA Charlottesville, Va. Regional.
Bucknell right-hander Dan Weigel handcuffed the Flames in pitching a complete game to run his record to 8-5 on the year. The Bison senior limited Liberty to two runs, both in the first inning, on four hits over nine innings, striking out six. He did not walk a batter.
Liberty ends the season at 41-18. The Flames finish the year with the second-most wins in a season and became the first Liberty team to earn an at-large bid in baseball program history. The Flames won the Big South regular season title with a school record conference mark of 23-3.
Bucknell moves to 31-21 on the year and will play the loser of tonight's game between Arkansas and Virginia in the Charlottesville, Va. Regional.
Liberty, the visitor on the scoreboard, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Center fielder Ashton Perritt led off the inning with a single and moved to second base on the throw. After a sacrifice bunt by right fielder Will Shepherd advanced Perritt to third, second baseman Ryan Seiz lifted a run-producing sacrifice fly to center field for a 1-0 lead. First baseman Alex Close followed by ripping his ninth home run of the season into the left field bleachers to give the Flames a 2-0 advantage.
Bucknell answered with three runs in bottom of the inning. Center fielder Brett Smith walked to open the frame. Two batters later, a throwing error by Close on a grounder by left fielder Joe Ogren put runners at first and second with one out. After a walk to catcher Jon Mayer loaded the bases, a walk to third baseman Sam Clark forced in the first Bison run of the inning. First baseman Rob Krentzman followed with a two-run single to right field for a 3-2 edge.
The Bison extended their lead with two runs in the second inning. With one out, center fielder Brett Smith reached on a fielding error by Liberty's Seiz and right fielder Anthony Gingerelli singled. Two batters later, Mayer lined a double into the left field corner, scoring both runners for what proved to be the final score of 5-2.
After entering in the fifth inning, Liberty pitcher Matt Marsh restored order by pitching four scoreless innings and striking out seven batters, but the Flames could not overcome the Bison's early three-run advantage.
Liberty starting pitcher Parker Bean, the first of four pitchers for the Flames, ends the season with a 7-3 record. The 2014 Big South Freshman of the Year gave up three runs on one hit. He struck out one and walked three batters.
Bucknell outhit Liberty, 6-4. Perritt collected two hits for the Flames. Mayer had two hits for the Bison.