The Stetson Hatters scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth and then held off a rally by the Liberty Flames for a 3-2 victory in game one of an ASUN doubleheader, Saturday at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
In a tightly contested, back-and-forth contest, the Hatters took a 3-2 lead on a sacrifice fly in the top of ninth, before stranding the tying and winning runs at second and third in the bottom of the ninth for the win.
Hatters second baseman Jacob Koons was the only player with two hits in the game and plated the go-ahead run in the ninth with a sacrifice fly.
Liberty falls to 7-3 in the ASUN and to 25-8 overall. Stetson improves to 5-2 in conference and 16-17 overall.
Box Score Highlights Records: Stetson (16-17, 5-2 ASUN); Liberty (25-8, 7-3 ASUN) Location: Lynchburg, Va. (Liberty Baseball Stadium) WP: Chris Gonzalez (5-0)| LP: Evan Brabrand (2-1)
Scoring Summary STETSON – 4th INNING - Foggo homers, 1-0 LIBERTY – 4th INNING – Mathieu flies out, Wagner scores, 1-1 STETSON – 8th INNING – MacNeil doubles, Sparks scores, 2-1 LIBERTY – 8th INNING – Wagner flies out, Guy scores, 2-2 STETSON – 9th INNING – Koos flies out, Dilbert scores, 3-2
Notable Numbers - Stetson outhit Liberty, 8-4, in the contest. Each team committed one error.
- Hatters starting pitcher Chris Gonzalez allowed two runs on four hits over 8 2/3 innings. Vlad Nunez retired the lone batter he faced with runners on second and third and two out in the ninth to record his eighth save.
- Flames right-hander Andrew McInvale gave up one run on four hits over the first six innings. Evan Brabrand allowed two runs on four hits over the final three innings.
- Stetson first baseman Eric Foggo hit his first home run of the season in the fourth inning.
Turning Point Leading 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth and runners on first and second and two outs, Nunez entered the game and threw a wild pitch, allowing both runners to move up 90 feet to second and third. However, he was able to close out the contest by getting Liberty center fielder Jaylen Guy to pop out to the shortstop to seal the win.
Beyond the Box Score - The game was the first meeting between the Hatters and Flames since 1992 and the first ever in Lynchburg.
- The setback snaps Liberty five-game home winning streak.
- For the first time in eight starts, McInvale did not figure in the decision. The right-hander had won seven straight outings and entered the weekend tied for the national lead in victories
- Second baseman Will Wagner drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. The sophomore has had at one RBI in seven of his last eight games. In addition, he drew a base on balls in the contest and now has reached base in 13 consecutive games.
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