The Liberty Flames picked up a huge win on Tuesday night in Lynchburg, knocking off No. 15 North Carolina in the first ever meeting between two top 25 teams at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
The Flames would see their 11-game win streak, dating back to the season opener, come to an end with a loss to Campbell on Friday night. Saturday’s game was canceled due to forecasted inclement weather, and Liberty would bounce back on a cold and blustery early March Sunday afternoon to get back in the win column.
TUESDAY: NO. 14 LIBERTY 1, NO. 15 NORTH CAROLINA 0
The Flames could only scrape together four hits and one run on Tuesday evening, but it was all that was needed to extend the team’s win streak to 11, defeating the Tar Heels, 1-0. With two outs in the bottom of the first, ASUN Preseason Player of the Year Aaron Anderson stepped into the plate. He would smash the ball down the right field line and the ball would hook inside the foul pole for the right fielder’s fourth home run of the season. That would be all the insurance the Liberty pitching staff would need.
Dylan Cumming got the start and scattered six hits over 4.2 innings of work. He struck out two and walked one, giving way to Mason Fluharty. He entered with a runner on second base and hit the first batter he faced. With two outs and runners on second and third, Fluharty got a big strike out to end the Carolina threat.
FRIDAY: CAMPBELL 7, NO. 14 LIBERTY 0
After a scoreless first three innings, Campbell broke free with a four-run fourth inning to seize control of the game. Zach Neto hit a solo home run followed by a three-run blast by Logan Jordan. It would be all the insurance Campbell starter Thomas Harrington would need to end Liberty’s 17 game home win streak, the longest in the nation. Harrington combined with two other Camels to shut out the Flames for the first time in 2022, as he scattered five hits and struck out seven over the first seven innings.
SUNDAY: NO. 14 LIBERTY 5, CAMPBELL 3
Campbell’s Zach Neto continued his strong weekend in Lynchburg, blasting his third home run in two games to help push the Camels ahead 1-0 in the 3rd. The Flames would scrape together a run in the fourth to tie the game, ending 20 scoreless innings for the Flames dating back to the first inning against North Carolina on Tuesday.
Four straight singles would spark a 5th inning rally for the Flames as Liberty would score four runs in the inning to take control of the game. The Camels would not go away quietly, primarily due to the play of Neto who doubled and scored a run and then had an RBI single as Campbell stayed within striking distance.
Neto would not get another chance in the 9th as the game ended in some controversy. Campbell put runners at the corners with one out in the 9th; however, runner’s interference was called after an official’s review, resulting in a double play to seal the Liberty victory with Neto left in the on deck circle.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: AARON ANDERSON
No one expected Anderson’s first inning home run on Tuesday night to be the only run of the game, but it was as it proved to be the difference in the pitcher’s duel between the top 15 teams. Anderson finished the week 4 of 11 with one run and two RBIs.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: MASON FLUHARTY
Fluharty has been one of the most reliable arms out of the deep and talented Liberty bullpen this season. He pitched 2.1 innings on Tuesday against the Tar Heels and did not allow hit while striking out four as he picked up the win. Fluharty would also work in relief on Sunday afternoon, pitching 1.2 innings while allow 2 hits and his first run of the year. He picked up the win once again, as he claimed both of Liberty’s win this week.
After an extended home stand, Liberty will now hit the road for four straight games, beginning Tuesday afternoon at VCU with first pitch scheduled for 3 pm. The Rams are 6-8 on the season following their two wins in a double-header on Sunday against Monmouth. They have
The Flames then head to Jacksonville, Florida to begin conference play with a three-game series at North Florida. The three teams are scheduled to meet Friday at 6 pm, Saturday at 2 pm, and Sunday at 1 pm. The Ospreys are 6-11 on the season. UNF was picked to finish 6th in the 12-team ASUN in the preseason.