Garret Price handcuffed the Virginia Tech Hokies for 4 2/3 innings and a single in the 10th by designated hitter Logan Mathieu knocked in the go-ahead run, helping the Liberty Flames post a 4-3 victory, Tuesday afternoon at English Field at Union Park.
With one out and the score tied 3-3 in the top of 10th, shortstop Cam Locklear ended up on third after an errant throw by Hokie Nick Owen on a ground ball to the shortstop. Mathieu, who had two RBI singles in the contest, followed with a liner back through the middle of a drawn-in Virginia Tech infield to put Liberty in front, 4-3. Price retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning, sealing the Flames' victory.
Price, the Big South Relief Pitcher of the Week, runs his record to 3-1 on the season. The right-hander yielded just two hits, striking out five and not walking a batter.
The Flames move to 14-9 on the season. Liberty has won four of its last five games. Virginia Tech drops to 10-13.
Liberty pushed across a run in the top of the first for an early 1-0 edge. Center fielder D.J. Artis led off the contest with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After second baseman Trey McDyre advanced Artis to third with a single, left fielder Tre Todd lifted a sacrifice fly to give the Flames the lead.
The Flames added to its edge in the second, benefitting from a Hokie error. With one out in the second, third baseman Tyler Galazin singled and advanced to third on a fielding error by Virginia Tech shortstop Jojo Odachowski on a ground ball by right fielder Brandon Rohrer. Catcher Jonathan Embry followed by laying down a squeeze bunt to score Galazin for a 2-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the second, Hokie catcher Joe Freiday, Jr. connected for his second home run of the year, halving the Flames' lead to 2-1.
Liberty plated a run for the third straight inning, scoring a two-out run in the third. With two away, Locklear walked and stole second. Mathieu followed by lining a RBI single into center field for a 3-1 Flames' lead.
Virginia Tech tied the game with two runs in the fifth. Center fielder Nick Menken walked to open the bottom of the inning. Two batters later, second baseman Jack Owens tripled to score Menken with the first run of frame. Right fielder Tom Stoffel followed with a run-scoring single, knotting the contest at 3-3.
Neither team threatened to break the deadlock until the bottom of the eighth. Stoffel and designated hitter Luke Horanski began the Virginia Tech eighth with back-to-back singles, only two given up by Price during his relief stint. However, the Liberty right-hander was able to retire the next three batters to end the threat. After the Flames threw out Stoffel attempting to move to third base on a bunt, Price struck out the first baseman JD Mundy and induced a fielder's choice ground out to get out of the jam.
Hokie reliever Andrew McDonald falls to 1-3. McDonald allowed one run on one hit over 1 1/3 innings. He struck out one.
Liberty collected nine hits in the game. Virginia Tech had seven and committed all three errors in the contest.
Up Next: Liberty returns to Big South Conference play. The Flames continue on the road for a three-game series against the Presbyterian Blue Hose, Thursday through Saturday. The first pitch for the series opener on Thursday is scheduled for 3 p.m.