A disappointing season for Liberty baseball came to an end Saturday afternoon as the Flames fell to Lipscomb, 7-3, in the ASUN semifinals. Liberty concludes the season with a 27-31 overall record and fails to reach the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2018.
The regular season champ Lipscomb Bisons jumped all over Liberty ace Garrett Horn in the first inning, scoring five runs before an out was recorded in the bottom of the first. The scoring burst was capped by Austin Kelley’s grand slam.
Horn, who was saved for the semifinals and hadn’t pitched all week in DeLand, Florida for the ASUN Tournament, was only able to record two outs before he was chased from the game with the bases loaded. He gave up five runs on two hits. He struck out one and walked five in 2/3 of an inning.
Liberty reliever Graham Edwards entered in relief, getting out of the bases loaded jam in the first. He would pitch 4.1 scoreless innings keeping the Flames within striking distance.
After Liberty got on the scoreboard with a single run in the fourth inning, Kane Kepley’s two-run, two-out triple brought the margin to 5-3 in the fifth. With two hits in the game, Kepley finished the year by reaching base in the final 18 contests.
That would be as close as the Flames would get though as the Bisons added runs in the sixth and seventh innings for the final margin of 7-3.
Mikey Tepper pitched the final three innings for Liberty. He gave up two runs on three hits. He struck out two and walked two.
Senior second baseman Gray Betts concludes his Liberty career. Betts played in 241 games during his time in a Flames uniform. He finishes tied for second all-time on the program’s hit with Larry Wayne York (2000-03) with 262 career hits. Betts also completes his career tied for second with D.J. Artis (2016-18) on Liberty’s all-time runs scored list with 173.
Lipscomb advances to Sunday’s ASUN Championship game where they will face Florida Gulf Coast. The Eagles outlasted Jacksonville State in Saturday’s other semifinal matchup to set up Sunday’s championship game between the top two seeds in the ASUN.
With the loss, Liberty ends its time in the ASUN Conference as the Flames will move to Conference USA next season. The Flames won the ASUN title in 2019 and advanced to an NCAA Regional as an at-large in each of the past two seasons.