Radford tops Liberty: Flames have dropped six straight

liberty baseballThe Radford Highlanders defeated the Liberty Flames, 10-4, Friday evening at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

With the scored tied at 2-2, the Highlanders plated seven runs in the third to take a lead they did not relinquish. The Big South contest was delayed 1:54 during the bottom of the fourth inning due to a thunderstorm.

Catcher Jonathan Embry had two hits and belted his sixth home run of the season, scoring twice for Liberty.

The Flames fall to 14-8 in Big South play and 26-22 overall. Liberty has lost six-straight contests, its longest losing streak of the season. Radford ends a four-game losing streak and moves to 12-10 in conference and 21-27 overall.

Radford jumped out to 2-0 advantage in the first. Center fielder Luke Wise led off the game with a walk and advanced to second on a fielding error by Liberty third baseman Tyler Galazin on second baseman Kyle Butler’s grounder. Two batters later, third baseman Matt Roth dropped a single into left, plating Wise for a 1-0 edge. Shortstop Colby Higgerson followed with a run-scoring ground out for a 2-0 lead.

Liberty tied it in the second. Embry walked to open the home half of the inning. Two batters later, designated hitter Logan Mathieu lined a double into the left field gap, scoring Embry to slice the Highlanders’ lead to 2-1. Later in the inning, center fielder D.J. Artis was hit by a pitch with two outs and left fielder Tre Todd was intentionally walked to load the bases. Galazin then walked, forcing in a run and knotting the game at 2-2.

Radford batted around in the top of third. Wise singled and Butler doubled to begin the inning. Two batters later, both runners scored on a throwing error by Flames third baseman Galazin on a grounder by Roth for a 4-2 advantage. After Higgerson reached on an infield single and moved to second on two-out wild pitch, left fielder Garrett Matheny was hit by pitch to load the bases. Right fielder Richard De La Cruz then singled in two runs for a 6-2 edge and designated hitter Will Harless followed with a three-run home run, his second of the year, pushing the Highlanders’ lead to 9-2.

In the bottom of the third, Embry lined a one-out solo home run over the right-center field wall to make it, 9-3 Radford.

Liberty inched closer in the fourth. Second baseman Trey McDyre opened the bottom half of the inning with double into the left field corner. Two batters later, Todd singled through the right side of the infield, plating McDyre and trimming the Highlander lead to 9-4.

Moments later, the contest was halted due to lightning. Upon resumption, first baseman Dylan Allen walked and shortstop Cam Locklear singled to load the bases with two outs. However, new Radford pitcher Cody Boone was able to induce a ground ball to end the scoring threat and the inning.

In the fifth, the Highlanders made it, 10-4. With two out, De La Cruz doubled and scored on a single by Harless, his fourth RBI of the game.

Liberty moved runners into scoring position in the sixth, but came away empty. With one out, Todd, who had two hits in the contest, singled and Galazin followed with a double. But, Highlander reliever Evan Threehouse held the runners, retiring the next two hitters to end the inning.

Liberty right-hander Garret Price drops to 6-4 on the season. Price allowed seven runs, three earned, on four hits over 2 2/3 innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Austin Ross moves to 8-4 for Radford. Ross pitched the first 3 1/3 innings, before his start was interrupted by the thunderstorm. The right-hander gave up four runs on five hits. He struck out three and walked four.

Hits were even at 9-9 in the contest. The Flames committed two costly errors.

Liberty left 11 men on base, while Radford stranded five.

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