LYNCHBURG, Va. — Ryan Cooper hit a grand slam and Casey Jones tallied three hits as the Elon Phoenix upended the 21st-ranked Liberty Flames by a 7-6 score from Liberty Baseball Stadium on Tuesday night. The win was 24th for Elon over a top-25 program since the 1999 season.
With the game even at three after five innings, Elon (27-25) on a fielder’s choice, error and single before Cooper sent a 2-1 pitch from Cody Albright over the wall in left to give the Phoenix a 7-3 edge. The Flames (38-12) came back with two in the bottom of the sixth to cut the deficit to 7-5.
Liberty added its final run in the eighth when Ashton Perritt singled home Danny Grauer to make it a one-run contest, but could get no closer.
Ryan Pennell kept the door closed in the ninth as he retired the side in order on a ground out, strike out and fly out to record his 12th save of the season. Pennell threw the final three innings and allowed one run while striking out four.
Elon started the scoring in the fourth when Nick Zammarelli bounced a ball over the first baseman with the bases full to score two. Liberty came back with two of its own in the last of the fourth thanks to an Andrew Yacyk double.
Both teams plated one in the fifth. The Phoenix scored its run when Quinn Bower drew a bases-loaded walk, while the Flames got a solo homer from Perritt.
Lucas Bakker (7-3) got the win in relief. He gave up one run on one hit in an inning. Starter Brandon Kacergave up one run on three hits in three innings of work.
The loss went to Albright (0-1) who was charged with four runs (three earned) on three hits in 1.1 innings.
Jones, Zammarelli and Blaine Bower all had multi-hit games. Jones raised his SoCon-leading average to .422. He has recorded at least one hit in 46 of 52 games and has an 11-game hitting streak. Zammarelli has now hit in 12 consecutive games.
Elon will be off until the 2014 Southern Conference Tournament in Charleston, S.C., which begins on May 20. The Phoenix will not know its seed in the tournament until all league play concludes this weekend.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E Elon 0 0 0 2 1 4 0 0 0 7 8 0 Liberty 0 0 0 2 1 2 0 1 0 6 12 1
Win – Bakker (7-3). Loss – ALBRIGHT, C. (0-1). Save – Pennell (12).
Umpires – HP: Greg Howard 1B: Chris Cali 3B: Kevin Smith
Start: 7:00 pm Time: 3:17 Attendance: 1307
Weather: Sunny, 85 deg., Winds: S 5