Liberty sweeps doubleheader with Radford

libertyFirst baseman Sammy Taormina belted a three-run home run and pitcher Garret Price gave the Flames a stellar outing, leading Liberty to a 6-1 game two win and a sweep of a Big South doubleheader from the Radford Highlanders Saturday at RU Baseball Stadium.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Flames defeated the Highlanders, 9-4, in game one.

With the scored knotted at 1-1 in the fifth inning with two outs and two men aboard, Taormina ripped his fifth home run of the season to give Liberty a 4-1 lead. Additionally, the first baseman drove in a run with a fielder’s choice in the contest.

Price moves to 3-0 on the season and records the first win of his career as a starting pitcher. In his second career start, the freshman right-hander allowed one run on four hits over seven innings. He struck out three and walked one.

Liberty reliever Cody Gamble finished out the contest with two innings of scoreless relief.

Liberty improves to 6-2 in Big South play and 18-11 overall. With the sweep of the doubleheader, the Flames take the series with one game remaining in the three-game set.

Radford drops to 3-5 in the conference and 13-17 overall.

The contest was the 100th contest between the Flames and the Highlanders on the diamond. Liberty has faced Radford more than any other team in program history.

        After a scoreless first three innings of play, Radford jumped out to a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, first baseman Spencer Horwitz staked the host Highlanders to a lead with his second home run of the season over the right field wall.

Liberty answered with four runs in the top of the fifth. Catcher Matt Allen led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a bunt by shortstop Cam Locklear. After a fielder’s choice ground out by Artis, third baseman Trey McDyre ripped a single into center field to plate Allen and tie the contest at 1-1. Two batters later, Taormina blasted the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for three more runs and a 4-1 Liberty lead.

Host Radford threatened in the bottom of the sixth, but came away empty against Price. Center fielder Luke Wise and second baseman Kyle Butler opened the frame with back-to-back singles. After a fielder’s choice put Highlanders on the corners with one out, Price got designated hitter Jonathan Gonzalez to bounce into double play to extinguish the threat and end the inning. The Flames entered the weekend among the top 20 in the country in double plays turned.

Liberty extended its advantage in the seventh. Artis walked to lead off the inning and with one out, advanced to second when left fielder Jake Barbee was hit by a pitch. After both runners executed a double steal to move into scoring position, Artis beat the throw to the plate on a chopper to first base by Taormina for a 5-1 lead. Designated hitter Eric Grabowski followed by dumping a RBI single into left field to give the Flames a five-run cushion at 6-1.

Radford pitcher Zack Ridgeley falls to 3-5 on the season. The left-hander gave up four runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.

The Flames outhit the Highlanders, 6-4. Grabowski had two hits and a RBI for Liberty. After making a season-high eight errors in the first game, Radford committed three in game two. Liberty did not make an error in either contest.


Up Next: Liberty goes for the series sweep tomorrow. Game time at RU Baseball Stadium is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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