Liberty baseball tops Wake Forest, 8-4

liberty baseballThe Liberty Flames broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the fifth inning and went on to ease past the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 8-4, Wednesday evening at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

Third baseman Tyler Galazin put the Flames ahead for good with two-out, two-run single in the fifth and center fielder D.J. Artis had two hits, walked twice and scored a run in the win.

Liberty moves to 16-11 overall. Wake Forest drops to 12-18. It was the first meeting between the two teams on the diamond since 2005.

After Liberty loaded the bases with no outs and failed to score in the bottom of the first, the visiting Deacons took a 1-0 edge in the top of the second. With one out, first baseman Bobby Seymour singled and later scored on a two-out double by designated hitter Chris Lanzilli.

The Flames tied the contest, plating their first run of the evening in the third. Right fielder Ayden Karraker walked to open the bottom half of the inning and moved to third on a double by Artis. After left fielder Tre Todd was hit by a pitch, Karraker scored on a fielding error by Wake Forest shortstop Patrick Frick on a ground ball by designated hitter Andrew Yacyk, knotting the game at 1-1.

In its next at bat, Liberty took its first advantage of the contest. Shortstop Cam Locklear led off the home half of the fourth with an infield single. After Locklear advanced to second on a ground out by Galazin and third on a ground out by catcher Jonathan Embry, Karraker lined a RBI single through the right side of the infield to give the Flames a short-lived 2-1 edge.

After Wake Forest tied the game at 2-2 on a sacrifice fly by Frick in the top of the fifth, the Flames plated three two-out runs for a three-run lead in the bottom of the inning. Todd, the national leader in bases on balls, open the bottom of the frame with a walk. Two batters later, first baseman Dylan Allen walked and along with Todd, moved into scoring position on a ground out by Locklear. Galazin followed by dumping a two-strike, two-out single into center field to bring home both runners for a 4-2 advantage. On the play, Deacons catcher Shane Muntz tried to catch Galazin making too wide of a turn at first base after the throw from center came into home plate. However, no one was at the bag and his throw sailed down into the right field corner, allowing Galazin to come around and score for a 5-2 Liberty edge.

In the top of the sixth, Wake Forest cut its deficit to two with a run. A two-out double by Muntz plated third baseman Johnny Aiello to make it 5-3 Flames, only to see Liberty answer with three runs in the bottom of the inning.

Karraker, who reached base three times in the contest, and Artis began the home half of the sixth with back-to-back walks. Two batters later, Todd dropped a single into right field, loading the bases with one out. A passed ball and wild pitch allowed both Karraker and Artis score for a 7-3 advantage. Designated hitter Logan Mathieu, who entered in game in the fifth, followed with a run-scoring single, extending Liberty’s lead to 8-3.

In the top of the ninth, the Deacons tacked on an unearned run for the final ledger of 8-4.

Liberty right-hander Zach Clinton raises his record to 5-2 on the season. The right-hander gave up three runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings, before giving way to Andrew Stout. Clinton struck out five and walked one.

Stout pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. He allowed two hits, striking out two and walking one. Jackson Bertsch pitched the ninth for the Flames.

Wake Forest reliever Antonio Menendez drops to 0-3. The right-hander allowed two runs on two hits during an inning of relief. The second of five Deacons to pitch in the contest, he did not strike out a batter and walked two.

Liberty collected eight hits in the contest and committed two errors, while Wake Forest had 10 hits and made three errors.


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