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No. 3 Flames Fall for First Time in Tourney

May 22, 2009  Asheville, N.C.  RSS
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Errol Hollinger had a triple Friday.

Errol Hollinger had a triple Friday.

The No. 3 seed Liberty Flames were handed their first setback of the double-elimination tournament, falling to the 18th –ranked and tournament No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, 7-0, in game nine of the 2009 Big South Championship, Friday night at McCormick Field.

Liberty drops to 33-20 on the year, while Coastal Carolina moves to 45-14 on the season and staves off elimination. The Flames will face No. 2 seed Winthrop tomorrow at 1 p.m. in an elimination game. The winner of that contest will then meet the Chanticleers in the Big South title game 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, with the victor claiming the conference crown and its automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Coastal Carolina, the home team on the scoreboard, took an early lead in the second inning. First baseman David Anderson was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a single by third baseman Tyler Bortnick to open the frame. Both runners advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by right fielder Daniel Bowman. Anderson then scored the first run of the contest by tagging up on catcher Jose Iglesias' foul out down the right field line.

The Chanticleers extended their advantage with two runs in their next at bat. Shortstop Tyler Motter led off the bottom of the third inning with a liner off the left field wall for a double. Center fielder Rico Noel followed with a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner to third with one out. Two batters later, designated hitter Adam Rice delivered Motter with a two-out single through the hole between the shortstop and third baseman. First baseman David Anderson kept the frame going with a single to right field. Bortnick followed with a single, bringing home Rice for a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the fourth, Liberty catcher Errol Hollinger (Sr., Upland, Calif.) tripled off the right field wall with one out. However, Coastal Carolina starter Austin Fleet was able to retire the next two Flames hitters to strand Hollinger at third and keep Liberty scoreless.

Liberty right-hander Tyler Light (Sr., San Bernardino, Calif.) also stranded Chanticleer runners in the bottom of the inning. With two outs and runners on second and third base, the Flames' starter induced a ground out to second base to end the Coastal Carolina fourth inning.

Coastal Carolina scored a run each time its leadoff man reached to open the frame through the first five innings. The Chanticleers upped their edge in the fifth, as Rice led off the inning with a double to center field. After a pitching change for Liberty, Anderson dropped a single into center field to bring home the runner for a 4-0 advantage.

Two Chanticleer errors in the seventh put Flames on the corners with two outs. But Liberty was unable to benefit, as the next batter was retired on a ground out to end the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Coastal Carolina's Iglesias hit his 10th home run of the year, a three-run round tripper, for the final margin of 7-0.

Liberty starter Light falls to 1-4 on the year. The first of four pitchers in the contest for the Flames, Light allowed four runs on six hits over four innings, striking out four and walking two batters.

Coastal Carolina starter Fleet runs his record to 7-2 on the season. The right-hander did not give up a run over the first seven innings, scattering four hits. He struck out five and walked one. Two Chanticleer relievers threw a scoreless inning each to close out the contest.

Anderson had three of Coastal Carolina's 11 hits, and Iglesias drove in four runs for the Chanticleers.