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    Liberty Takes ASUN Opener from No. 20 FGCU 9-7

    Mar 17, 2023 | Fort Myers Fla | Baseball

    The Liberty Flames topped the No. 20 FGCU Eagles 9-7 to begin ASUN Conference play, Friday evening at Swanson Stadium.

    Liberty jumped out to an 8-0 advantage through the top of the seventh inning of the ASUN opener, only to see the host Eagles score seven runs in the bottom of the inning to close within one before securing the victory.

    Freshman first baseman Brayden Horton had three hits and drove in four runs for Liberty. Flames catcher Gray Betts added two hits and an RBI, scoring a run in the contest.

    Flames left-hander Garrett Horn did not allow a run, yielding one hit over the first five innings and Cole Hertzler retired all seven men he faced to close out the contest over the final 2 1/3 innings.

    Liberty moves to 8-9 overall and 1-0 in ASUN play. FGCU drops to 0-1 in the conference and 14-4 overall.

    Box Score Highlights
    Liberty (8-9, 1-0 ASUN); FGCU (14-4, 0-1 ASUN)
    Location: Fort Myers, Fla. (Swanson Stadium)
    WP: Garrett Horn (2-1) | LP: Alejandro Valiente (1-1) | SV: Cole Hertzler (2)

    Scoring Summary
    1st INNING – Hillier doubles, Troyer (unearned) and Betts (unearned) score, 2-0
    1st INNING – Lazzaro grounds into a fielder’s choice, Hillier scores (unearned), 3-0
    1st INNING – Horton singles, Foster scores (unearned), 4-0
    3rd INNING – Horton singles, Foster scores (unearned), 5-0
    6th INNING – Betts singles, Guy scores, 6-0
    7th INNING – Horton singles, Castillo and Foster score, 8-0
    7th INNING – Felix doubles, Kinker and Figueredo score, 8-2
    7th INNING –  Wilmer singles, Felix and Rodriguez score, 8-4
    7th INNING – Ellis doubles, Moise, Lojewski and Wilmer score, 8-7
    8th INNING – Lazzaro singles, Foster scores, 9-7

    Notable Numbers
    – Liberty outhit FGCU, 10-8, in the contest. The Eagles committed five errors, while the Flames made one.
    – Liberty left 11 men on base. FGCU left 10.
    – Horn struck out five and walked four in recording the win.
    – Hertzler struck out four of the seven batters he faced in earning a save.
    – Flames center fielder Jaylen Guy had two hits in the contest and scored a run.
    – Third baseman Cam Foster walked four times and scored four times for Liberty.
    – FGCU starter Alejandro Valiente takes the loss. He gave up five runs, all unearned, on four hits over four innings.
    – Right fielder Brian Ellis had two hits and three RBI in the game for the Eagles.

    Turning Point
    After seeing FGCU score seven in the bottom of the seventh inning to trail 8-7, Liberty answered with a run of its own. With two outs, Foster walked and designated hitter Victor Castillo singled. Shortstop Jake Lazzaro followed by ripping a single back through the middle of the diamond to score Foster for a 9-7 lead.
    Working with a two-run cushion, Hertzler, who recorded the final out of the seventh inning, did not allow a baserunner over the last two innings to seal the Liberty win.

    Beyond the Box Score
    – Liberty held FGCU scoreless through the first six innings of the contest. It is the longest that the Eagles have gone this season without scoring a run in a game.
    – Horton records the first multi-hit and multi-RBI game of his collegiate career in the contest.
    – With two hits in the contest, Betts records his team-leading seventh multi-hit game of the season. The catcher has reached base safely in 11 consecutive games, the longest such streak by a Flame this season.
    – Guy also had two hits in the game to collect his fourth multi-hit game of the season.
    – Foster sets a new career-high with four runs scored in the contest. The third baseman scored three runs in a 16-12 win over Kennesaw State on May 21, 2022.
    – Flames left fielder Three Hillier had a two-run double in the contest. He has reached base safely in 10 straight games.

    Next Up
    Liberty and FGCU will meet again tomorrow at Swanson Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.

    Featured in Main Photo: Brayden Horton