LYNCHBURG, Va. – With runners at second and third in the bottom of the ninth Liberty’s Alex Close singled down the leftfield line to drive in the game winning run as the Flames earned a 4-3 decision over UNC Asheville on Sunday afternoon in the series finale between the two teams.
With the victory Liberty sweeps the season series with the Bulldogs, while improving to 35-10 on the season and 19-1 in Big South Conference play. Asheville falls to 12-32 overall and 4-16 in league play.
Starter Corey Randall took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth, when Will Shepherd reached base on an error by third baseman Robert McIntosh to start the frame. Ryan Seiz then singled through the right side and then reached second when Becker Sankey was hit by a pitch.
Shepherd scored a play later when a failed pickoff attempt at second went into centerfield. After the Bulldogs recorded an out Close hit a hard grounder that went just past a diving McIntosh at third to drive in the game-winning run.
Designated hitter Eli Miller was 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored, while second baseman Kyle Towles and catcher Sam Turner each drove in a run.
Randall (2-5) allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in the loss.
Liberty’s Shawn Clowers was credited with the victory to improve to 7-0 on the season, pitching a shutout ninth inning. Parker Bean got the start for the Flames and allowed three runs (none earned) on five hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.
With the loss the Bulldogs have now dropped eight Big South games in a row, and 10 out of the last 11.
The Bulldogs will not be in action again until Tuesday, May 6, when the Blue & White travel Southeastern Conference foe Tennessee in a game set for 6 p.m.