Liberty defeats Charleston Southern, 9-6

libertyAll nine members of Liberty’s lineup had at least one hit, as the Flames defeated the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, 9-6, in the finale of a three-game Big South series at Liberty Baseball Stadium, Sunday.

Center fielder D.J. Artis, right fielder Will Shepherd, left fielder Andrew Yacyk, shortstop Dalton Britt and first baseman Sammy Taormina had two hits each for Liberty, which collected 14 hits total in the contest.

Liberty improves to 5-4 in Big South Conference play and 19-15 overall. With the win, the Flames take the three-game series, two games to one. Charleston Southern drops to 2-7 in conference and 13-19 overall.

The visiting Buccaneers plated the first run of the afternoon in the top of the second. Back-to-back doubles by catcher Mike Sconzo, who had three hits in the game, and designated hitter Brandon Gragilla gave Charleston Southern a 1-0 edge.

Five-straight hits to open the inning, powered a four-run Flames’ third inning. Artis and Walker began the home half of the third with back-to-back singles. After Shepherd singled to plate Artis to tie the game at 1-1, Yacyk ripped a two-run double into the left-center field gap for a 3-1 lead. Britt followed with a RBI single for a 4-1 Liberty advantage.

Both teams plated two runs each in the fifth. Charleston Southern scored on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Chris Singleton and on a single by Sconzo to trim the Flames’ edge to one at 4-3 in the top of the inning. Liberty answered with a two-out, two-run single by Artis in the bottom of the inning, stretching Liberty’s lead back to three at 6-3.

A two-out hit extended the Flames’ advantage in the sixth. With one out, Taormina walked and moved to second on a single by second baseman Andrew Kowalo. Two batters later, third baseman Josh Barrick doubled down the left field line, plating both runners for an 8-3 lead.

Each team scored a single run in the seventh. In the top of the inning, left fielder Sly Edwards tripled with one out and was brought home by a sacrifice fly by Singleton. In the bottom of the frame, Britt singled with two outs and scored on a RBI double by Taormina, making it, 9-4, Flames.

Charleston Southern plated two runs in the ninth. A RBI single by Sconzo and a single back through the middle of the diamond with two outs by second baseman Ryan Maksim moved the Bucs to within three runs at 9-6. Right-hander Shane Quarterley was then summoned out of the Liberty bullpen and retired shortstop Cole Murphy with one pitch, a ground back to the pitcher, to closed out the Flames’ victory and earn his fifth save of the year.

Right-hander Carson Herndon, the second pitcher of four in the contest for Liberty, moves to 3-1 on the season. The senior allowed one run on two hit over 2 2/3 innings in relief of starter Jack DeGroat. Herndon struck out one and walked two.

Charleston Southern starting pitcher Evan Nations drops to 0-4. The left-hander gave up four runs on seven hits over 2 2/3-plus innings. He struck out three and walked two, as the first of eight Buccaneers to pitch in the game.

Charleston Southern had 10 hits in the contest. Liberty committed two errors.

Liberty next travels to Buies Creek, N.C., for a three-game Big South series with the Campbell Camels, next weekend.  The series gets underway at Jim Perry Stadium, Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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