Baseball Falls to Liberty 13-1, Heads to Deciding Game of the Big South Tournament
DANVILLE, Va. – Liberty freshman starter Stephen Evans limited No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina to three hits and the No. 2 seed Flames pounded out 13 runs and 14 hits in a 13-1 win over the Chanticleers in Game 10 of the 2008 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship, forcing a necessary Game 11 to determine the Big South Tournament champion. The result marks the first time since 2006 that the tournament has gone to the necessary title game.Liberty jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Kenneth Negron doubled down the left field line and moved to third on Errol Hollinger’s single to right. Hollinger advanced to second on a wild pitch by Coastal starter Austin Fleet, and after David Giammaresi struck out, Cody Brown singled to right center to score Negron. An error by Chanticleer center fielder David Sappelt put runners on second and third. Fleet then hit Garrett Young with a pitch to loaded the bases, but settled down and recorded a strikeout and groundout to escape any further damage.But the Flames tacked on five runs in the fourth inning to move ahead 6-0. Young led off the inning with a solo home run, his first of the tournament and sixth of the season. With one out, Aaron Phillips singled to left to score Jeff Jefferson, and later Tim Rotola scored on a throwing error by Fleet. After Hollinger popped out, Giammaresi punched a two-run single to right to plate Negron and Phillips. Liberty added two runs in the fifth to increase its lead to 8-0.Evans mowed down the Chanticleers for the first 4.1 innings, holding Coastal hitless and permitting just two baserunners. He also retired seven-straight batters during the stretch. In the fifth, Coastal’s Adam Rice knocked a double off the left field wall for the Chanticleers’ first hit, and came around to score CCU’s only run on Tommy Baldridge’s single up the middle.The Flames continued to have its way with Coastal’s pitching, scoring twice in the sixth inning to stretch the lead to 10-1. With one out, Brown walked and advanced to second on Young’s infield single. After Aaron Grijalva flied out, Jefferson doubled to left to plate Brown and Young. The Flames added three more runs in the eighth for the final 13-1 margin.Evans was masterful in just his sixth start of the year. He went eight innings, allowed three hits, one run and four walks, while striking out seven to even his record at 3-3. He did not permit a hit in his final two innings on the mound. Young produced his second four-hit game of the tournament and scored four times, while Jefferson had three RBI and two hits.Coastal starter Fleet lasted four innings in falling to 5-3, giving up eight hits, seven runs (three earned) and one walk with one strikeout. Baldridge, Woodward, Rice and Dustin King had the Chanticleers’ four total hits on the day.Liberty became the first team in Big South history to score 10 runs in four-straight tournament games, and has scored 53 runs in the tournament thus far, breaking the record for most runs scored in a tournament. The previous best was 52 runs, which was established by Winthrop in the 1987 tournament. Liberty is looking to become just the third team in League history to come back and win the Conference tournament after losing its first tournament game, joining Winthrop (1987) and UNC Greensboro (1997).