LYNCHBURG, VA- The Liberty Flames scored five runs in the first three innings Saturday afternoon to jump to the early lead in an 9-4 win over Gardner-Webb in the second game of the Big South Conference series.
The Flames (31-12, 14-3 Big South) wasted little time getting on the board, scoring one run in the first inning when Justin Richardson doubled down the right field line, bringing Tyler Bream home. They added to their lead in the second inning when Michael Robertson blasted a three-run home run, and Matt Williams scored in the third inning after a Nathan Thompson single to take the early 5-0 advantage.
The Diamond 'Dogs (20-22, 7-10 Big South) got on the board in the fourth inning, with Kurt Fulginiti scoring off of a double from Jake Watts. Josh Drewery belted a solo home run to centerfield to start the fifth inning to cut the margin to 5-2. Liberty tacked on another run in the bottom half of the inning to make the score 6-2 after five innings.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Bulldogs were able to get within two runs, with the score at 6-4 following a pair of RBI hits from Brad Collins and Daniel Merck, yet the Flames scored twice in the bottom of the seventh and once in the eighth to seal the game.
Steven Evans (6-1) got the win for the Flames, going 6.1 innings, allowing four earned runs and nine base hits. Dane Beakler got his first save of the season, pitching 2.2 innings, allowing no runs.
Brock Wilson (4-3) took the loss for the 'Dogs, going 5.0 innings, giving up six earned runs and eight hits. Brett Stackhouse pitched the remainder of the game in relief, allowing one earned run.
Drewery, Collins, and O.J. McFarland each had two hits for the 'Dogs, who managed 11 total hits for the game.
The final game of the series between the two teams will take place Sunday afternoon at Worthington Stadium in Lynchburg, Va. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 PM.