Charlottesville - The Liberty Flames tried to rally in the ninth inning, but came up short as the No. 2 seed Arkansas edged the Flames, 3-2,Friday evening in Game 2 of the 2014 NCAA Charlottesville Regional at Davenport Field. Trailing in the ninth, Liberty center fielder Ashton Perritt was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. After advancing to third base on a sacrifice bunt and a ground out, Arkansas reliever Jacob Stone was able to retire the next batter to close out the contest.
Liberty falls to 41-17 on the season and will face No. 4 seed Bucknell Saturday in an elimination game at 2 on ESPNU. Arkansas moves to 39-23 on the year and advances to play No. 1 seed and regional host Virginia Saturday at 8 p.m.
Liberty, the visitor on the scoreboard, jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Shortstop Dalton Britt singled to lead off the inning. Catcher Danny Grauer was then hit by a pitch and third baseman Jake Kimble walked to load the bases. Two batters later, Perritt was hit by a pitch to plate the first run of contest. However, Arkansas starter Chris Oliver retired the next two Flames to end the threat without further damage.
The Flames’ advantage did not last long, as Arkansas answered with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the inning. Second baseman Brian Anderson connected for his seventh home run of the year, lifting the second pitch of the frame over the right-field wall to tie the game at 1-1.
The Razorbacks plated two runs in the fourth. Left fielder Joe Serrano reached on an infield single and moved to third base on a hit-and-run single by center fielder Andrew Benintendi to open the bottom of the inning. With runners on the corners, Anderson singled through the left side of the infield to give Arkansas a 2-1 edge. After one-out wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, right fielder Tyler Spoon walked to load the bases. Third baseman Bobby Wernes followed with a RBI ground out, pushing the Razorbacks advantage to two, 3-1.
Liberty countered with a run in the top of the fifth. First baseman Alex Close drew a leadoff walk to open the inning and moved to third on a double into the left field corner by designated hitter Andrew Yacyk. Britt followed with a sacrifice fly to score Close to move the Flames within one at 3-2.
The Flames were held to five hits in the game. Britt had two and an RBI, scoring a run. Liberty will now have to win four games in a row to win the regional, coming out of the loser's bracket.
LU Head Coach Jim Toman and Flames shortstop Dalton Britt commented on the 3-2 loss in the post-game media session.