Flames top Chants in debut; rain alters series schedule

ccubase-owingsthrowCoastal Carolina had two chances to win the game in the ninth, but both came up just shy as Liberty held on for a 7-5 victory in the series opener Friday night at Springs Brooks Stadium. The 26th-ranked Chanticleers (32-16, 14-3 Big South) and Flames (31-17, 15-2) are set to play Saturday at 11 am, which is a change from the original schedule due to impending weather.

With two runners on and down three runs, Coastal Carolina’s Zach Remillard hit a ball to left center field that most of the CCU faithful thought was a game-tying home run, but Nick Paxton caught the ball at the wall, which turned into a sacrifice fly as Anthony Marks scored from third. After a G.K. Young single – his fourth of the evening, Casey Schroeder came to bat with two runners on and two outs. The junior catcher hit the ball to deep center field, but Ashton Perritt snagged the ball at the wall for the third and final out to secure the win for the Flames.

Alex Close, who was 2-for-6 at the plate with a home run, picked up his sixth save of the season. He moved from first base with two runners on and no outs in the ninth. He allowed two hits but no runs. Jared Lyons (8-1) was credited with the win as he threw 143 pitches in eight-plus innings. He allowed seven hits and five runs (two earned) with four walks and a career-high 11 strikeouts.

Coastal jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Leadoff batter Anthony Marks hit a ball to center field, but an error allowed the junior to advance to third. Michael Paez, who was 3-for-4, followed with an RBI single. After a Connor Owings sacrifice bunt advanced Paez to second, Young delivered a two-out single to right field to score Paez.

The Chants padded their advantage with a run in the third inning. Michael Paez drew a four-pitch walk to start the home half and took second on an error. For the second time in as many at bats, Young came through with an RBI single to drive in Paez.

The Flames got on the scoreboard to start the fourth as Close hit a solo home run over the left center field wall for his four round-tripper of the season. The Flames went on to load the bases, thanks to an error, but CCU starter Austin Kerr induced an inning-ending ground ball to keep it a two-run game.

Liberty sent nine men to the plate and exploded for three runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead. Perritt started the inning with a walk and Dalton Britt followed with a single. Two batters later, Becker Sankey drove in Perritt with an RBI single. Then, with the bases loaded, Andrew Yacyk hit a chopped up the middle to score Britt and Sankey.

Owings tied the game, 4-4, with one swing of the bat in the fifth as the junior hit his sixth home run of the season.

Coastal’s defense helped the Flames score two runs in seventh as Liberty took a 6-4 lead. A pair of misjudged balls to the outfield led to a double by Yacyk and RBI triple from Paxton. Nick Salisbury followed with an RBI bunt single.

A Chanticleer error in the eighth gave Liberty a 7-4 lead, which proved critical in the outcome. Will Shepherd hit a leadoff single, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Then, with two outs, Shepherd scored on a throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt.

Andrew Beckwith (4-3) was saddled with the loss. He allowed six hits and three runs in 2.2 innings with three walks and four strikeouts.

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