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    6-Run 7th Inning Pushes Liberty Propels Lipscomb in ASUN Championship Opener

    May 23, 2023 | DeLand Fla | Baseball

    Third baseman John Simmons’s grand slam highlighted a six-run seventh inning as the No. 3 seed Liberty Flames downed the No. 1 seed Lipscomb Bisons 12-11 in Pool A play at the ASUN Baseball Championship Tuesday at Melching Field at Conrad Park.

    Trailing 9-6 in the seventh inning of the opening game of the 2023 ASUN Baseball Championship, the Flames struck for six runs to take a 12-7 lead and then held on for the 12-11 victory.

    Simmons belted a grand slam, his first collegiate home run, among his two hits in the game. The freshman drove in a game-high and season-high five runs.

    Fellow freshman center fielder Kane Kepley and ASUN All-Conference first baseman Brayden Horton also added two hits each for the Flames. Kepley knocked in two runs and scored two runs, while Horton had two RBI in the contest.

    Shortstop Cam Foster plated the Liberty’s first two runs of the game with his team-leading 12th home run of the season.

    Liberty moves to 27-28 on the season. Lipscomb drops to 33-23.

    Box Score Highlights
    Liberty (27-28), Lipscomb (33-23)
    Location: DeLand, Fla. (Melching Field at Conrad Stadium)
    WP: Cole Hertzler (4-1) | LP: Matthew Bohnert (1-1) | SV: Graham Edwards (1)

    Scoring Summary
    1st INNING – LIBERTY – Foster homers, Kepley scores, 2-0
    1st INNING – LIP – Willhoite flies out, Ketchup scores, 2-1
    2nd INNING – LIBERTY – Simmons reaches on a bunt, Hudson scores, 3-1
    2nd INNING – LIBERTY- Kepley grounds out, Keeter scores, 4-1
    2nd INNING – LIBERTY – Horton singles, Simmons scores, 5-1
    2nd INNING – LIP – Lee singles, Bouck and Berg score, 5-3
    2nd INNING – LIP – Vergara double, Lee and Coppedge score, 5-5
    2nd INNING – LIP- Lundgrin grounds out, Ketchup scores, 6-5
    3rd INNING – LIP – Berg scores on a throwing error, 7-5
    3rd INNING – LIP – Ketchup homers, Coppedge scores, 9-5
    4th INNING – LIBERTY – Kepley grounds out, Keeter scores, 9-6
    7th INNING – LIBERTY – Troyer flies out, Foster scores, 9-7
    7th INNING – LIBERTY – Simmons homers, Keeter, Hudson and Hillier score, 11-7
    7th INNING – LIBERTY – Horton doubles, Kepley scores, 12-9
    9th INNING – LIP – Ketchup reaches on an error, Coppedge and Bouck score (unearned), 12-11

    Notable Numbers
    – Liberty outhit Lipscomb, 13-7. The Flames committed three errors. The Bisons made one.
    – Liberty left seven men on base. Lipscomb left nine men on base.
    – Left fielder Nathan Keeter added two hits in the contest and scored a game-high three times.
    – Designated hitter Todd Hudson was the fifth Flame with two hits, scoring two runs.
    – Liberty relievers Cole Hertzler, Nick Willard and Graham Edwards pitched five scoreless innings from the fourth through the eighth.
    – Flames reliever Hertzler records the win. The right-hander allowed three runs on two hits over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out a career-high six and walked three batters. He finished his outing by pitching three consecutive scoreless innings.
    – Liberty right-hander Graham Edwards earns his first save of the season. He gave up two unearned runs over 2 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked three.
    – Lipscomb reliever Matt Bohnert takes the loss. The right-hander was roughed up for four runs on three hits over 2/3-plus innings. He walked one.
    – No Bisons player had more than one hit in the contest.
    – Shortstop Caleb Ketchup hit his 15th home run of the season and scored three times in the contest for Lipscomb.

    Turning Point
    Down 9-6 in the top of the 7th inning, the Flames shocked the Bisons’ scoring six runs to take the lead. With one out and runners on the corners, right fielder Camden Troyer lifted an RBI sacrifice fly to inch Liberty closer at 9-7. Hudson followed with a double and Keeter walked to load the bases.

    After Lipscomb made a pitching change, Simmons blasted the first pitch from new Bisons’ pitcher Hayden Frank over the right field wall for a grand slam and giving Liberty an 11-9 advantage. Kepley followed singled and scored on Horton’s double for the sixth run of the inning and a 12-9 lead.

    Beyond the Box Score
    – Liberty runs its record to 10-3 in ASUN Championship games.
    – Simmons collects his fifth multi-hit game of the season. Until today, the freshman had never had more than two RBI in a game.
    – Horton continued his hot hitting, extending his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest by a Flame this season. He is hitting .444 during his streak. The first baseman has reached base safely in 22 consecutive contests and now has 15 multi-hit games on the season.
    – Kepley has reached base safely in 15 consecutive contests and records his 12th multi-hit game. The freshman has scored a run in 12 of the last 13 games.
    – Keeter and Hudson each collected his fourth multi-hit contest.
    – With 4 1/3 innings, Hertzler sets a new career-high for innings. Previously, the most innings he had pitched was on April 29, 2023, against Stetson.

    Next Up
    Liberty continues pool play tomorrow. The Flames will take on the No. 4 seed Jacksonville Dolphins at Melching Field at Conrad Park. The first game of Day 2 of the ASUN Baseball Championship is scheduled for 10 a.m.

    Featured in Main Photo: John Simmons rounding the bases