LYNCHBURG, Va. – In the rubber game of the three-game non-conference weekend series with Liberty on Sunday afternoon, the Chanticleers fell to the Flames by a score of 6-4 in Lynchburg, Va.
The loss drops the Chants to 19-15 overall while the win pushes Liberty to 27-10 on the year and 16-2 at home.
CCU freshman outfielder Billy Underwood (2-for-3, 2 2B, HBP) reached base safely three times, while junior catcher BT Riopelle (2-for-5, run) had two singles. The RBIs came from four different Chants in Nick Lucky (2-for-4, BB, RBI, run, SB), Eric Brown (1-for-5, 2B, RBI, run), Zack Beach (1-for-4, RBI, run), and Alex Gattinelli (0-for-4, RBI).
Liberty’s offense was led by Brady Gulakowski (2-for-4, HR, RBI, run), Brandon Rohrer (1-for-3, BB, RBI), Garrett Wilkinson (1-for-4, 2B, RBI), Gray Betts (1-for-3, BB, RBI), and Jake Wilson (0-for-1, BB, sac, BB) who all had one RBI in the win.
The loss fell to CCU reliever Luke Barrow (0-2), as the right-hander gave up two runs, one of which was earned, on two walks in 0.1 of an inning.
Liberty’s bullpen arms of David Erickson (7-1) and Landon Riley (5) picked up the win and save, respectively. Erickson allowed one run on one hit, one walk, and one strikeout over 2.0 innings of work, while Riley followed with two hits and three strikeouts in a scoreless ninth.
Liberty, who did not score at all in Saturday’s contest, scored first on Sunday with a one-out single and an RBI double to right-center field by Wilkinson in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.
The Chants answered with a three-run second inning highlighted by two doubles, as well as RBI ground-out by Gattinelli, an RBI single from Beach, and a bases-loaded walk to Lucky to put the visitors in front for the first time of the contest at 3-1.
The scoring carried over into the bottom half of the second, as the Flames got one run back on a two-out RBI single by Betts to cut the Chants’ lead to one at 3-2 just two innings into the contest.
After both teams stranded a runner on base in the third inning and Coastal left another runner on base in the top of the fourth, Liberty used a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth off the bat of Gulakowski to tie the game up at 3-3.
With two men on in the fourth, Liberty looked to retake the lead before Shaddon Peavyhouse entered the game and threw one pitch to start a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play to get the Chants out of the jam and keep the score tied at 3-3 heading into the fifth inning of play.
LU did retake the lead in its next at-bat, as Trey McDyre led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a triple to left-center field that was just out of the reach of a diving Parker Chavers. The Flames’ Wilson then laid down a bunt for a safety squeeze as McDyre sprinted in from third base and was called safe on a bang-bang play at the plate to give the Flames a 4-3 lead.
Coastal tied the game up again in the top of the seventh, as Lucky lined a one-out single to left field and then quickly moved up to second on a wild pitch. Following an intentional walk to Chavers, Lucky would still third to put runners on first and third with one out.
On a 3-2 pitch to the hitter Brown, Chavers took off from first base which proved to be huge as he eliminated Liberty’s chance at a double play on a ground ball to the shortstop and allowed Lucky to race in from third and tie the game up at 4-4.
After Coastal left the go-ahead run on second in the top of the eighth inning, the Flames took advantage of two walks, a sacrifice bunt, and a wild pitch to get a two-out single from Rohrer that would get past the CCU left fielder to allow two runs to score and give the home team a 6-4 lead with one inning to play.
CCU would put the tying runs on first and second in the ninth before Liberty’s Riley struck out the next three hitters to save the 6-4 win for the home team in red.
The Chants left 10 runners stranded at the plate and walked six Liberty hitters on the mound.