LYNCHBURG, VA. – Right fielder Will Shepherd’s two-out single tied the game and second baseman Ryan Seiz followed with a home run in the eighth, leading the No. 30 Liberty Flames past the UNC Asheville Bulldogs, 4-2, Saturday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
For the second day in a row, Liberty plated three runs in the eighth inning to post a victory over UNC Asheville. Last night, the Flames scored three times in the inning to break a 4-4 tie, en route to a 7-4 win.
This afternoon, Liberty erased a 2-1 deficit with two outs in the eighth. Pinch hitter Andrew Yayck singled to led off the inning. Center fielder Ashton Perritt then moved pinch runner Jake Kimble into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Shepherd lined a 3-2, two out pitch into left field to score Kimble to tie the game at 2-2. Seiz, batting from the right side of plate for the first time in the contest, followed by driving his Big South-leading 11th home run over the center field wall to give the Flames a 4-2 lead.
Perritt took over on the mound in the top of the ninth and retired the Bulldogs in order to close out the 4-2 come-from-behind win and earn his career-high 11th save of the season.
Liberty moves to 18-1 in Big South Conference play and 34-10 overall. The Flames have won 16 straight Big South contests, a program record. UNC Asheville falls to 4-15 in conference action and 12-31 overall.
The visiting Bulldogs struck for a run in their opening at bat. Center fielder Tanner Bush led off the game with a double into the left-center field gap and advanced to third on a single to center by right fielder Phillip Treadway. Bush then scored on a ground out by third baseman Robert McIntosh for a 1-0 edge.
Liberty knotted the game in the fourth. Left fielder Nick Lacik opened the home half of the inning with a single to left field and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Shepherd. Two batters later, designated hitter Becker Sankey walked. Shortstop Dalton Britt followed by extending his team-high 14-game hitting streak with a run-scoring single to tie the contest at 1-1.
Asheville went back in front in the fifth. With one out, first baseman Hunter Bryant lined a double into the right-center field gap. Two batters later, shortstop Derek Smith tripled to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 edge.
Liberty reliever Shawn Clowers moves to 6-0 on the year. The left-hander pitched two scoreless innings. He did not allow a hit, striking out three and walking two batters.
UNC Asheville reliever Nick Schavone drops to 1-3 on the season. He gave up three runs on three hits.
Liberty outhit Asheville, 7-6, in the contest.
The Flames and the Bulldogs complete their Big South three-game series, tomorrow. First pitch at Liberty Baseball Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m.