Liberty cruises past Youngstown State, 16-0

liberty baseballThe Liberty Flames pounded out eight extra base hits and recorded their first shutout of the 2018, blanking the Youngstown State Penguins, 16-0, Tuesday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

Jonathan Embry hit his second home run of the season. Matt Allen hit his first of the year in the victory.

Liberty’s other six extra base hits in the contest were doubles. Second baseman Ben Highfill paced the Flames with two doubles and a career-high four RBI in his first start of the season.

Right-handers Zach Clinton and Mason Hand combined for the shutout. Clinton scattered six hits over the first six innings, evening his record to 2-2 on the season. Hand allowed one hit over the final three innings, striking out six and recording the first save of his collegiate career.

Liberty moves to 7-5 on the year and snaps a four-game losing streak. Youngstown State drops to 1-9.

The Flames took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Embry’s home run. With center fielder D.J. Artis on after opening the home half of the first with a walk and one out, Embry belted the first pitch of his at bat over the right field wall for an early Liberty edge.

A Penguin miscue in the third allowed Liberty to add to its lead. With the bases loaded and two out, designated hitter Andrew Yacyk singled deep into the hole between the shortstop and third base. Youngstown State shortstop Cody Dennis was able to field the ball, but threw wildly past second in an attempt to get a force out. The error allowed first baseman Dylan Allen, who had walked, to score for a 3-0 edge.

In the fourth, the Flames sent 12 men to plate, breaking the game open by plating eight runs. Highfill doubled and shortstop Cam Locklear and Artis walked to load the bases to begin the frame. After a Penguins’ pitching change, left fielder Tre Todd laced a bases-clearing double into the left-center field gap for 6-0 Liberty advantage.

Later in the inning, Yacyk drew a bases-loaded, one-out walk to force in a run, upping the home team’s lead to 7-0. Two batters later, Highfill, batting for the second time in the frame, lined his second two-base hit of the inning down the left field line, scoring three runs to give the Flames a 10-0 lead. Locklear followed with a two-out RBI single for an 11-0 advantage.

Liberty tacked on a run in the sixth and four in the seventh. In the sixth, third baseman Tyler Galazin walked and moved to third on a one-out double by right fielder Brandon Rohrer. Highfill followed with a run-scoring ground out for a 12-0 lead. In the seventh, pinch hitter Matt Allen connected for a two-run home run and two more Flames scored on a dropped pop up in the field for the final ledger of 16-0.

Youngstown State starter Colin Clark falls to 0-1. Clark allowed three runs on four hits over three innings. He struck out three and walked four.

The Penguins committed the only two errors in the contest.

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