The No. 8 seed Longwood Lancers pushed a run across in the ninth inning to edge the No. 4 seed Liberty Flames, 4-3, in Game 6 of the 2015 Big South Baseball Championship at John Henry Moss Stadium.
In their final game as Liberty Flames, center fielder Ashton Perritt and Big South All-Conference first baseman Alex Close each collected three hits and pitched in the contest. Perritt hit his sixth home run of the season, tying the game in the seventh inning, had two RBI and pitched 2/3 innings. Close doubled, collected a RBI and pitched 1/3 of an inning in the contest.
Liberty is eliminated from the Big South Baseball Championship and finishes the year with a 33-23 record. Longwood moves to 22-33 and advances to play the loser of tonight's game between No. 1 seed Radford and No. 5 seed High Point, tomorrow.
Liberty, the home team, staked itself to a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the third. With one out, second baseman Nick Salisbury singled to left and Perritt reached on a bunt single to open the inning. Two batters later, Close singled to second, scoring Salisbury for a 1-0 edge. After catcher Becker Sankey walked to load the bases, right fielder Will Shepherd was hit by a pitch to force in the second run of the frame.
Longwood answered with three runs in the top of the fourth. Right fielder Brandon Harvell led off the inning with a single and scored on left fielder Kyri Washington's 15th home run, tying the contest at 2-2. Designated hitter Tyler Biddix followed with an infield single and ended up on second after a throwing error by Flames third baseman Sammy Taormina.
After first baseman Connar Bastaich bunted Biddix to third, third baseman Alex Lewis lifted a sacrifice fly to give the Lancers the lead at 3-2.
In the seventh, Perritt tied the contest. With one out, the Flames' center fielder lined a home run over the left field wall, knotting the game at 3-3. Liberty then moved runners into scoring position at second and third base, but Lancers reliever Travis Burnette retired the next Liberty batter to end the inning and the threat.
Liberty left a runner on base at eighth. Designated hitter Andrew Yacyk doubled off the top of the left field wall with one out. However, pinch runner Trey Roberts was left at third, keeping the score tied at 3-3.
Longwood plated the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth. Third baseman Alex Lewis drew a walk and catcher Mac McCafferty singled off Liberty starting pitcher Jared Lyons to open the frame. After Perritt was brought in to pitch for the Flames, both runners advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Michael Osinski.
Later in the inning, center fielder Colton Konvicka was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs. Harvell followed with a run-scoring single to put the Lancers in the lead at 4-3.
In the bottom of the inning, Liberty was able to get the tying run aboard when Close singled with two out. However, Burnette was able to retire the next batter to close out the win.
Big South Pitcher of the Year Jared Lyons finishes the year with an 8-2 record. The senior gave a solid effort in his final game at Liberty, allowing four runs, three earned, on eight hits over eight-plus innings. The left-hander struck out nine and walked two batters.
Burnette evens his record at 3-3. The right-hander pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering three hits. He struck out two and walked two batters.
Both teams collected nine hits in the contest.