The Liberty Flames scored 11 runs in the fifth inning, cruising past the UNC Asheville Bulldogs, 19-8, Saturday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Trailing 5-2 after a shaky start, the Flames sent 17 men to plate in the home half of the fifth, plating 11 runs on four hits and taking advantage of eight walks and two Bulldog errors to take a 13-5 advantage.
Center fielder D.J. Artis and second baseman Trey McDyre had three hits each for the Flames, who collected 16 in the contest. Artis also tied his career high by scoring four times, while McDyre doubled, tripled and scored twice in the contest.
Brandon Rohrer hit his second home run of the year for Liberty in the seventh.
Liberty moves to 4-2 in Big South play and 13-9 overall. UNC Asheville drops to 3-3 in conference and 6-16 overall.
The visiting Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in their opening at bat. Second baseman Kole Harris walked and first baseman Danny Wilson and shortstop Carmine Pagano reached on back-to-back singles, as the first three batters of the game reached. Third baseman Brandon Lankford followed with a sacrifice fly for the first run of the contest. Two batters later, designated hitter Tyler Serricchio lined a two-out double into the left-center field gap, plating two more runs for an early three-run lead.
Each team tallied runs in the second. In the top of the second, Pagano's RBI single gave the Bulldogs a 4-0 edge. Liberty answered in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back two-out doubles by shortstop Cam Locklear and right fielder Jonathan Embry.
After Asheville scored a run on a single by Serricchio in the top of the fifth for a 5-2 advantage, the Flames erased their three-run deficit and took a commanding lead with their big fifth inning. Artis doubled and scored on a triple by McDyre, who came home on a wild pitch, to open the bottom of the frame and cut the Liberty deficit to one at 5-4. Third baseman Tyler Galazin later doubled to knot the game at 5-5.
After Locklear plated a run with a grounder, Embry dropped a sacrifice bunt to bring home Galazin for a 7-5 lead. Pinch hitter Logan Mathieu followed with a two-out, RBI single, upping the Flames' newfound advantage to 8-5.
Back-to-back bases loaded walks to left fielder Tre Todd and Brady Heid, who earlier in the inning entered the game as a pinch runner, and Dylan Allen pushed the Liberty lead to 11-5. A passed ball and a fielding error on a grounder by Locklear allowed two more runs to score, stretching the Flames' newfound cushion to eight runs at 13-5.
Harris scored on a wild pitch in the top of the sixth for the Bulldogs, only to see Liberty put the game out of reach with three in the bottom of the inning. Heid tripled with Artis and Todd aboard for a nine-run edge. First baseman Dylan Allen followed with a run-producing single for a 16-6 lead.
After Rohrer hit a solo home run in the seventh, the Bulldogs and Flames each tacked on two runs apiece for the final score of 19-8.
Reliever Garret Price moves to 2-1 on the year. The third Liberty pitcher of the contest, Price took over for left-hander Vinnie Tarantola, who had shut down the Bulldogs after their early scoring spurt, pitched a scoreless inning of relief, striking out two.
Asheville reliever Jesse Juday falls to 0-2. Juday gave up two runs on one hit without recording an out in the fifth.
The Bulldogs had 14 hits in the game and committed three errors.
Up Next: Liberty travels to Blacksburg, Va., to square off with the Virginia Tech Hokies, Tuesday. Game time at English Field at Union Park is scheduled for 4 p.m.
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