Liberty baseball survives Sunday slugfest with Radford, 11-10
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET/Liberty Flames) – The Liberty Flames slipped past the Radford Highlanders, 11-10, on Senior Day, Sunday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Liberty center fielder D.J. Artis scored three times, tied a season-high with three RBI and hit his fourth home run of the season in the Big South contest.
Third baseman Tyler Galazin also had three RBI and designated hitter Ayden Karraker scored three times for the Flames.
Liberty snaps a seven-game losing skid, raising its record to 15-9 in Big South play and 27-23 overall. Radford drops to 13-11 in conference and 22-28 overall.
Before the contest, Liberty recognized the five seniors on its roster during Senior Day festivities. The Flames acknowledged catcher Matt Allen, infielder Josh Barrick, first baseman Andrew Yacyk and pitchers Jackson Bertsch and Vinnie Tarantola for their contributions to the Liberty program.
Liberty pushed across a run in the first. Artis walked and moved to third on single by catcher Tre Todd to open the bottom of the inning. Galazin then lifted a fly ball to center field to plate Artis for a 1-0 edge.
Radford tied the contest in the third. Designated hitter Will Harless was hit by a pitch and right fielder Richard De La Cruz reach on an infield single to begin the inning. Two batters later, second baseman Kyle Butler singled to load the bases with one out. First baseman Spencer Horwitz then walked to force in Harless and knot the game at 1-1. However, Liberty right-hander Noah Skirrow got third baseman Matt Roth to bounce into a double play to end the scoring threat and the frame.
The Flames struck for three two-out runs in the fourth. With one out, Karraker and right fielder Brandon Rohrer both walked. Two batters later, Artis, who had two hits in the contest, ripped a two-out single through the right side of the infield, cashing in Karraker with the first run of the inning and a 2-1 edge. After Todd walked to load the bases, Galazin dropped a single into left, scoring Rohrer and Artis for a 4-1 advantage.
Radford erased Liberty’s three-run lead in the top of the fifth. With one out, De La Cruz hit his first home run of the year to halve the Flames’ advantage to two runs at 4-2. Center fielder Luke Wise and Butler then each drew a walk. After a Liberty pitching change, first baseman Spencer Horwitz lined his seventh home run of the year over the right field wall, giving the Highlanders what proved to be a short-lived 5-4 lead.
Liberty answered in the bottom of the fifth, plating three more runs. With two out, Karraker walked and Rohrer lined a single into center field. Second baseman Ben Highfill then grounded to second, but Highlander shortstop Colby Higgerson dropped the throw from Butler at second, allowing Rohrer to reach safely and the inning to continue. With the bases full, Artis was then hit by a pitch to force in a run and knot the score at 5-5. Todd followed with a double off the right field wall, scoring both runners for a 7-5 edge.
The Flames extended their lead in the sixth. Left fielder Jonathan Embry walked to open the inning, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Shortstop Cam Locklear followed with a run-scoring single for an 8-5 advantage. Two batters later, Karraker doubled to bring home Locklear for a 9-5 lead. Rohrer then capped off the three-run burst with a RBI single to right for a 10-5 advantage.
The Highlanders cut into the Liberty lead with a three runs in the seventh. With one out, Radford loaded the bases, as Horwitz walked, Roth singled and left fielder Andrew Szamski walked. Designated hitter Straton Podaras followed with a two-run single, slicing the Flames’ advantage to three at 10-7. After a Liberty pitching change, Higgerson lifted a sacrifice fly, plating Szamski, trimming the Flames’ edge to 10-8.
Artis belted his round tripper in the eighth, adding an important run to the scoreboard. With two away, Artis blast cleared the center field wall, upping the Liberty advantage to 11-8.
In the ninth, Radford rallied, moving the tying run to second with two out. The Highlanders loaded the bases with one out, before Liberty pitcher Logan Barker was able to strike out Podaras for the second out of the inning. Roth followed with a two-run single back through the middle of the diamond to pull Radford to within one at 11-10. With the tying run on second and the go-ahead run at first, Barker then induced De La Cruz to ground out to first to close out the Liberty victory.
Liberty’s Brady Stamper moves to 4-3 on the year. The right-hander allowed four runs on three hits over two innings in relief of Skirrow. He struck out two and walked three.
Barker followed, pitching the final 2 2/2 innings. The right-hander gave up two runs on one hit in recording his first save of the year. He struck out two and walked three.
Cameron Fritz takes the loss for Radford, dropping to 3-1 on the season. Fritz gave up three runs on three hits during one inning of relief. The second of five pitchers in the contest for the Highlanders, he struck out one and walked one.
Liberty outhit Radford, 11-8. The Highlanders committed the only error of the contest. Liberty left 13 men on base, while Radford left on eight.