LYNCHBURG, Va. — 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 Conference tournament on Wednesday at Liberty Stadium.
The Flames (30-27) advance to face the Campbell/Radford loser today.
The Buccaneers’ 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.
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 senior Ryan Gunther (7-5), who went eight innings, surrendering two earned runs and striking out six.
The Bucs missed out on a number of scoring opportunities, outhitting Liberty, 11-7 and leaving 10 runners on base to three for the Flames. 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 two hits as did Sustar and Bobby Ison. Chase Shelton’s lone hit was an RBI double in the sixth that gave CSU a 1-0 lead.
CSU threatened a number of times, including the first inning. Singles by Alex Tomasovich and Bobby Ison gave the Bucs a pair of baserunners, but Liberty starter Brooks Roy was able to strike out Robbie Streett to get out of the early jam.
The Bucs threatened again in the seventh as Sustar and Ison singled to give the Bucs runners on the corners, but Dalton Britt had 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 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.