Bucs can’t get big hit in loss at Liberty

LYNCHBURG, VA. — Liberty’s Danny Grauer had a three-run single in the fourth inning as the Flames (13-6, 2-0 Big South) built an early lead and hung on late to collect an 8-4 victory Saturday over Charleston Southern (8-12, 0-2).

The Bucs, who face Liberty again Sunday at 1 p.m., scored four runs late and loaded the bases twice in the final three innings, including getting the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but never got the big hit to come all the way back from an early deficit. The Bucs stranded seven runners over the final three innings.

Grauer’s single cleared the bases to give Liberty a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning it would never relinquish. The Flames added two more runs in the fifth Bryan Aanderud hit a solo home run and Trey Wimmer followed with an RBI single, building the lead to 5-0.

CSU rallied to cut the lead to 5-2 in the seventh as the Bucs loaded the bases. Brian Welch delivered an RBI single and Zack Hagaman drew a bases-loaded walk toplate the Bucs’ first two runs. Flames reliever Kyle McElvey came on to get Kevin Hickey to pop up to limit the damage.

Liberty answered back with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Wimmer came through with an RBI double and scored on a wild pitch to highlight the frame for the Flames as they extended their lead to 8-2.

CSU cut the lead to 8-3 in the eighth as Bobby Ison drew a leadoff walk and Alex Tomasovich followed with a double into the left field corner. Ison would come home to score on an RBI groundout by John Faircloth.

The Bucs loaded the bases in the ninth with two walks and a hit-by-pitch, but Liberty’s Patrick Bankemper struck out Tomasovich to end the game with the tying run at the plate. CSU scored in the inning when Robbie Streett was hit by a pitch.

Harrison Wilkins led the Bucs with a 1-for-3 afternoon and a run scored. Welch was also 1 for 3 with an RBI.

Wimmer and Aanderud each had two hits for the Flames, who outhit CSU, 10-6.

CSU’s Kevin Buran (0-4) took the loss allowing five earned runs in five innings of work. He struck out three and walked four. Liberty’s Brooks Roy improved to 3-1 on the year allowed two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings of work.