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Flames Top Buccaneers, 17-3

March 25, 2017  Charleston, S.C.  RSS
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D.J. Artis had three hits, including his second home run of the season, Saturday.

D.J. Artis had three hits, including his second home run of the season, Saturday.

The Liberty Flames plated six runs each in the third and the fourth innings to cruise past the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, 17-3, Saturday afternoon at CSU Ballpark. The Flames' 17 runs set a season-high, eclipsing its prior high of 14 in last Sunday's win over High Point at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

Center fielder D.J. Artis and right fielder Will Shepherd each hit his second home run of the season in the contest. Artis led all players in the game with three hits and collected three RBI.

Third baseman Trey McDyre and first baseman Sammy Taormina each cleared the bases with a bases-loaded triple. Taormina also had four RBI on the afternoon.

Liberty takes the series and will look for the sweep of the Big South Conference series, tomorrow. The Flames took Friday's opener between the two teams, 12-2.

Liberty improves to 4-1 in conference and 14-7 overall. Head Coach Scott Jackson's squad has won four straight games and six out of their last seven. Charleston Southern drops to 1-4 in Big South play and 11-9 overall.

For the second straight contest, Liberty batted around in at least one inning. Last night, the Flames batted around in the second inning, while sending nine or more men to the plate in the third, the fourth and the eighth innings, today.

After the leadoff hitter was retired to begin the top of the third, the next seven Flames reached base. Shortstop Cam Locklear walked to start the uprising. Artis followed with a home run off the light pole in right-center field to give Liberty a 2-0 lead. Designated hitter Eric Grabowski then doubled, left fielder Jake Barbee singled and catcher Matt Allen walked to load the bases.

After a Buccaneers pitching change, Taormina lined the first pitch he saw down the right field line and into the corner, clearing the bases to up the Flames' advantage to 5-0. Taormina then scored when right fielder Tyler Kinney dropped a fly ball by McDyre for a 6-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Charleston Southern plated a run. Left fielder Cody Smith led off the frame with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Second baseman Nate Blanchard followed with a run-scoring single to make it, 6-1 Flames.

Liberty again sent all nine batters to the plate in the fourth, scoring six more runs. Locklear led off the inning with a single and advanced to second. With one out, Barbee bounced a single through the middle of the diamond to bring home Locklear with the first run of the inning.

After Taormina walked to load the bases with two outs, McDyre lined a triple into the right-center field gap, scoring all three runners for a 10-1 advantage. Shepherd followed with a home run over the left-center field wall for a commanding 12-1 lead.

The Buccaneers pushed across a run in the sixth. A two-out single by Smith scored first baseman Brandon Gragilla, who opened the home half of the inning with a single.

Liberty again batted around in the top of the eighth, adding five runs. The Flames plated runs on a passed ball, RBI singles by Artis and Jonathan Embry, and back-to-back walks to Taormina and Josh Latta.

In the bottom of the inning, Charleston Southern scored on a sacrifice fly by Smith for the 17-3 final.

Liberty starting pitcher Evan Mitchell moves to 2-1 on the year. The right-hander gave up one run on five hits over the first five innings. He struck out five and walked three.

Charleston Southern starting pitcher Nik Constantakos falls to 1-1. The Flames roughed up the freshman for five runs on four hits during 2 1/3-plus innings. He struck out one and walked three batters. Buccaneers' pitching yielded 15 walks in the contest.

Liberty outhit Charleston Southern, 14-8.

Up Next: Liberty and Charleston Southern will meet in the final game of their conference series, tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.