ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Liberty scored nine runs late in the game as the Flames broke open a close contest and recorded a 16-6 Big South Conference victory over UNC Asheville Sunday afternoon.
The win by Liberty (32-12, 10-5 BSC) allowed the visitors to salvage a win in the final game of a three-game series with the Bulldogs (19-22, 8-10 BSC) this weekend. Asheville won 7-6 in 13 innings on Friday and 2-0 on Saturday.
The Flames had 13 hits and were led at the plate by Alex Close who went 2-for-5 with four RBI. Justin Sizemore went 3-for-4 with three RBI. Dalton Sype hit his first career home run in the fifth inning to break a 6-6 tie and give Liberty the lead for good.
Reliever Blake Forslund (2-2) earned the win for the Flames by pitching just one inning. Jacob Kemmerer pitched the final five innings and allowed just two hits to earn his second save of the season.
The Bulldogs helped the Liberty cause by committing three errors and walking 11 hitters plus hitting a batter.
"We battled today but made too many mistakes to beat a really good Liberty team," stated Asheville coach Tom Smith. "You can't give a team that hits like Liberty extra outs and extra base-runners."
Asheville had 10 hits as Patrick Koontz went 3-for-4. Cody Adkins had a two-run homer for the Bulldogs in the third inning. Billy Creighton had a solo home for Asheville.
Liberty led 7-6 entering the seventh inning before breaking the game wide open with six runs. Close led the inning off with a solo homer to make it 8-6. Ian Parmley and Bryan Aanderud had two-run singles for the Flames in the inning.
Liberty led 13-6 going into the eighth and scored three more runs to pad the lead to 16-6.
The Flames picked up two runs in the first inning as they had three infield hits to lead 2-0. The Bulldogs countered with three runs in the third to take a 3-2 lead. Creighton hit a solo home run plus RBI-singles from Jordan Lurie and Thomas Bess put the home team in front.
Liberty came right in the third with four runs to take the lead 6-3. Adkins hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the frame to cut the lead to 6-5. The Bulldogs knotted the game in the fourth with a run before Sype's homer in the fifth gave the Flames the lead for good.
UNC Asheville hosts Wofford in a non-conference battle at Greenwood Field Tuesday at 3 p.m. Liberty travels to James Madison on Tuesday for a 4 p.m. start.