Behind a string of 17-straight retired batters by junior right handed pitcher Josh Richardson, Liberty defeated Clemson 8-3 on Friday afternoon in the opening game of the 2013 NCAA Columbia Regional at Carolina Stadium. The win is Liberty's first NCAA post season victory since 2000 and second all-time.
Richardson (4-4) hurled a compete game with three runs and six hits. He registered the win with just one strike out.
Senior catcher Trey Wimmer tallied a career-high six RBI on the day going 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and a sacrifice fly. Sophomore leadoff hitter right fielder Ashton Perritt went 2-for-3, with a double and scoring three times. Perritt also laid down two sacrifice bunts. Freshman third basemen Jake Kimble went 3-for-4, scoring twice as well.
Wimmer started his day by bringing in Perritt, who reached on a ground-rule leadoff double, with a sacrifice fly. The run gave Liberty a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Clemson would respond in the bottom of the first though by leveling the game at 1. Senior Thomas Brittle reached on an error at the top of the order and Duggar drove him in to level the game at 1. The Tigers left two on base to end the inning.
In the top of the third, Wimmer came to the plate with two on and one out after Kimble registered a single to leadoff and Perritt reached on an error. Wimmer cruised into second, clearing the bases to give the Flames a 3-1 advantage.
The Tigers closed the gap in the bottom of the third with a Duggar RBI to bring in Brittle. Duggar would be Clemson's last base runner until the ninth inning.
Sophomore Alex Close opened the fourth inning with a solo home run to left field to give Liberty a 4-2 cushion.
The Flames got their leadoff hitter on for the fifth time in the sixth inning as Kimble reached for the third time from the ninth spot in the lineup. Junior Ryan Cordell logged a walk be bring Wimmer to the plate with two on and one out yet again. Wimmer responded with a three-run homer to widen the gap to 7-2.
In the top of the eighth, Liberty poured on another run, this time with Cordell bringing Perritt home.
Duggar broke the streak of 17 straight retired batters to start the bottom of the ninth with his leadoff double. Junior Shane Kennedy would bring Duggar around with a single, but Krieger grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Clemson starting pitcher Zack Erwin (5-2) gets the loss, facing 13 batters and giving up four hits and three runs. Freshman right fielder Steven Duggar was the only Tiger to register multiple hits. Duggar went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Clemson will face the loser of Game 2 between South Carolina and Saint Louis tomorrow at 2 p.m. on ESPNU/ESPN3.
Game two of the NCAA Columbia Regional is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. Live stats are available at GamecocksOnline.com, and the game will be televised on ESPN2/ESPN3.