Liberty, Gardner-Webb split doubleheader
Despite Liberty first baseman Sammy Taormina hitting two home runs and driving in six runs, the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs defeated the Flames, 10-8, Saturday in game one of a Big South doubleheader at John Henry Moss Stadium.
Taormina had three hits, two home runs, a double and a career-high six RBI in the contest. The first baseman hit two home runs in a game for the second time in 2017. He also hit two S.C. on Feb. 24.
Liberty drops to 8-6 in Big South play and 22-15 overall. Gardner-Webb improves to 8-6 in the Big South and 19-19 overall. Entering the contest, Liberty had won the last six contests between the two teams.
Taormina gave the Flames a 2-0 advantage in the first. After left fielder Jake Barbee was hit by a pitch with two outs, the Liberty first baseman belted a 1-2 offering over the right field wall for an early two-run edge.
Liberty added to its lead with a run in the top of the second. The Flames loaded the bases with one out. Center fielder D.J. Artis followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring designated hitter Eric Grabowski, who opened the inning with a single, for a 3-0 advantage.
Gardner-Webb used five hits to tie the game in the bottom of the second. With three straight one-out singles, the Runnin’ Bulldogs plated their first run of the contest. The third single of the string by center fielder Mason Fox made it, 3-1 Flames. Two batters later, shortstop Paul Trick’s two-run single knotted the game at 3-3.
Liberty countered with a run in third to take back the lead. Barbee led off the inning with a double into the right-center field gap. Taormina followed by lining a ball off the right-center field wall to score Barbee and put the Flames back in front at 4-3.
For the four-straight inning, head coach Scott Jackson’s team plated run in the fourth. Shortstop Cam Locklear opened the inning with a single back through the middle of the diamond and advanced to second when Artis walked. After moving to third on a fielder’s choice ground ball by third baseman Trey McDyre, Locklear scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Taormina for a 5-3 advantage.
In the bottom of the fourth, Gardner-Webb struck for four runs to take the lead. Left fielder Chandler Redmond led off the home half of the frame with his ninth home run of the season to cut the Flames’ edge to 5-4. Designated hitter Gage Parham singled and Fox walked, before Trick lined a one-out double down the left field line, scoring both runners for a 6-5 Gardner-Webb advantage. Second baseman Mickey Dugan followed with a RBI single for a 7-5 advantage.
Taormina reduced the Flames’ deficit to one with his second home run of the game in the sixth. After Barbee reached on a fielding error by Bulldogs’ third baseman Matt Simmons, Taormina blasted the first pitch of his at bat over the right field wall, slicing the Gardner-Webb edge to 8-7.
Liberty knotted the contest in the top of the seventh. With two out, Locklear singled through the right side of the infield and stole second. Artis followed by ripping an opposite field double into the left field corner to score Locklear to deadlock the contest at 8-8.
In the bottom of the seventh, Redmond hit his second home run of the game, a two-run home run, to give Gardner-Webb what proved to be the final score of 10-8.
Liberty reliever Cody Gamble falls to 1-2. The right-hander gave up two runs on two hits over two innings in relief of starter Caleb Evans. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
Gardner-Webb reliever Jarrett Thompson moves to 3-0. He allowed one run on two hits over the final 3 1/3 innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. The right-hander pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings to seal the win.
Gardner-Webb outhit Liberty, 14-10, in the contest.
Liberty Romps to 17-4 Game 2 Win over Gardner-Webb
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Third baseman Trey McDyre hit a grand slam and collected a career-high five RBI, as the Liberty Flames defeated the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs, 17-4, in game two of a Big South doubleheader, Saturday at John Henry Moss Stadium.
McDyre had three hits and hit the slam, the first home run of his career in the game, leading to a career-high five RBI. He also scored twice.
First baseman Sammy Taormina and left fielder Jake Barbee joined McDyre with home runs in the contest. Taormina had two hits and three RBI in the contest, after collecting three hits, two home runs and a career-high six RBI in game one of the twinbill. His home run was his eighth of the season.
Barbee had two hits, drove in three runs and scored three runs in the contest. His home run was his fourth of the year.
Liberty improves its Big South record to 9-6 and its overall mark to 23-15 on the season. Gardner-Webb falls to 8-7 in conference play and 20-19 overall. The Runnin’ Bulldogs won the first game, 10-8, to achieve a split of the doubleheader.
Flames right-hander Evan Mitchell runs his record to 5-1 on the season. The senior gave up three runs on four hits over eight innings and was in control for most of the contest. He struck out three and walked one.
Liberty jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Center fielder D.J. Artis walked and McDyre singled to open the contest. Left fielder Jake Barbee and first baseman Sammy Taormina followed with run-scoring singles for a two-run Flames’ edge.
Liberty pushed across another run in the second. With two outs, catcher Payton Scarbrough walked. Shortstop Cam Locklear then beat out an infield single, and both runners moved to second and third base when Gardner-Webb shortstop Paul Trick’s throw to first sailed into the dugout. After Artis was intentionally walked to load the bases, McDyre was hit by a pitch to force in a run and allow Liberty to build a 3-0 advantage.
Gardner-Webb cut into its deficit in the third. Designated hitter Gage Parham was hit by a pitch to open the home half of the inning and moved to second on a single by center fielder Mason Fox. Third baseman Matt Simmons followed with a two-run double, plating both runners to slice Liberty’s lead to 3-2.
The Flames answered with three runs in the top of the fourth. Scarbrough led off the inning with a double and scored on a one-out single by Artis. Two batters later, Barbee blasted a home run off the scoreboard in right-center field to lengthen the Liberty advantage to 6-2.
In the fifth, the Flames batted around, plating eight runs to take a commanding lead. The first six batters of the frame reached, as five walked and one batter was hit by a pitch. Scarbrough and Locklear each drew a base on balls with the bases full to force in the first two runs of the inning. Artis followed with a RBI and was aboard on McDyre’s grand slam, upping the Liberty’s lead to 13-2. Two batters later, Taormina homered for a 14-2 advantage.
Bulldog catcher Justin Kunz hit his fifth home run of the season to open the bottom of the sixth inning.
Liberty added three runs on a sacrifice fly and two walks with the bases loaded in the ninth, while Gardner-Webb scored one in the bottom of the inning for the final score.
Bulldog right-hander Landon Mitchell drops to 4-3. The freshman allowed three runs on four hits over three innings. He did not strike out a batter and walked five.
Gardner-Webb pitchers walked 16 Flames in the contest.
Liberty outhit Gardner-Webb, 12-5. Artis had two hits, walked three times and scored four times in the game. Scarbrough also collected two hits, walked four time and scored three times.
Up Next: Liberty continues its eight-game road trip on Friday. The Flames travel to up Route 460 to Farmville for a Big South series against the Longwood Lancers. The series begins Friday at 7 p.m.