DELAND, Fla. - With a deep sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 12th inning off the bat of Will Wagner, No. 2 Liberty walked-off No. 5 North Florida 3-2 and advanced into the Loser's Bracket Final tomorrow morning vs. No. 4 Jacksonville.
Another pitcher's duel similar to the first game of Friday action, both Liberty and North Florida received splendid contributions from its starters who limited each side to only two runs during their time on the mound. The bullpens then came in and kept the status quo, going a combined 10 innings before allowing the winning run to cross in the 12th frame. Eddie Miller surrendered the winning run, but not before compiling six innings of work and allowing just three hits while striking out three as well. Noah Skirrow for Liberty came in for 4.1 innings of relief, holding UNF off the board and striking out five.
The runs in the game came at a premium with UNF jumping out front early after Second Team All-Conference honoree David Maberry hit an RBI single to open the scoring in the third inning. Just two frames later, Liberty took its first lead of the contest after All-Freshmen Team member Gray Betts hit a sac fly and then Player of the Year Jonathan Embry roped an RBI double to drive in the go-ahead run. UNF quickly tied the game back up using a sac fly from First Team All-Conference selection Jay Prather to even the score at 2-2 in the sixth.
From there, it was a duel as both relief pitchers continued to get out of jams. In the 12th inning, Gray Betts got on thanks to an error from the UNF shortstop while Embry followed with a ball in play that resulted in an error by the first baseman that resulted in runners on second and third with no outs. After intentionally loading the bases, Logan Mathieu grounded into a force at the plate on a cannon throw from Jay Prather.
Up next was Wagner, who had a chance to win the game with the bases loaded and one out. After seeing a couple pitches and holding a 2-1 count, Wagner lifted a deep fly ball into left center field that was caught, but was deep enough to drive in the winning run with no contention from the UNF outfield as the throw would not make it in time.
With the victory, Liberty advances into the Loser's Bracket Final for the first time in program history in its first year with the ASUN. The Flames face off with No. 4 Jacksonville in that contest, moved from tonight to 11 AM ET due to student-athlete welfare after the amount of innings played by both sides in recent days. The winner of that game moves on to the ASUN Final where they will meet defending champion Stetson. North Florida's season comes to an end with an overall mark of 32-25 and the fifth spot in the ASUN standings.
Liberty vs. North Florida Game Notes
- The fifth extra-inning game of this ASUN Championship; sets the all-time record for most extra-inning games in a single ASUN Championship
- Three of the five runs scored in the contest came off sacrifice flies; two were scored by Liberty and one for North Florida
- Liberty now faces Jacksonville in a rematch of a game won 9-6 by Jacksonville in extra innings during a Winner's Bracket contest
- The winner of the Liberty and Jacksonville game will move on to face No. 6 Stetson in the ASUN Championship Final