Liberty's Ashton Perritt squeezed home Alex Close for the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as the Flames rallied for a 2-1 win over Charleston Southern in an elimination game at the Big South Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Liberty Stadium The Flames improve to 30-27 and advance to face the loser of tonight's Campbell/Radford matchup. The Bucs' season ends at 22-34.
Perritt's bunt single brought home Close with the winning run in the eighth. Close led off the eighth with a double to right that rode the wind just out of the reach of Bucs' right fielder Chase Shelton to put the winning run on for the Flames.
CSU put the leadoff runner on in the ninth in Jaren Sustar, but couldn't move the tying run into scoring position.
The loss spoiled a strong start from Ryan Gunther (LP, 7-5). The senior went eight innings, surrendering two earned runs and striking out six.
The Bucs missed out on a number of scoring opportunities on the afternoon, outhitting Liberty, 11-7 and leaving 10 runners on base to three for the Flames.
The top of the Bucs ordered seemed to spend the entire game on base, but CSU finished just 1-of-8 with runners in scoring position.
Bucs'shortstop Alex Tomasovich was 3-for-4 and scored the Bucs lone run. John Faircloth added a two hits as did Sustar and Bobby Ison. Chase Shelton's lone hit was an RBI double in the sixth.
CSU threatened a number of times on the afternoon, including in the first. Singles by Alex Tomasovich and Bobby Ison gave the Bucs a pair of runners in scoring position, but Liberty starter Brooks Roy was able to strike out Robbie Streett to get out of the early jam.
The Bucs grabbed the lead in the sixth as Tomasovich singled and scored on an RBI double by Shelton to give CSU a 1-0 lead.
The Bucs threatened to add to the lead in the seventh as Jaren Sustar and Bobby Ison singled to give the Bucs runners on the corners, but Dalton Britt had CSU's John Faircloth played perfectly to rob the Bucs of a two-run lead. Faircloth rocketed a Jared Lyons offering back up the middle, but right at a leaning Britt to end the inning.
Liberty tied the game in the seventh at 1-1 as Trey Wimmer hit his fourth home run of the year off the scoreboard in left center field. Wimmer finished 3-for-3 for the Flames.