Mason Meyer remembered what happened last time the Liberty Flames played the Tennessee Volunteers.
He wasn’t going to let it happen again.
After sitting through a three-hour weather delay, Meyer was sensational for the Flames during the Regional Opener on Friday night, allowing just one run off of five hits in 6.1 innings pitched. Meyer (6-4) received the win as the Flames dispatched the Vols, 6-1.
It was a far cry from the first time these two teams met in the regular season. Tennessee dismantled Liberty, 7-1, behind nine hits and seven RBIs in 33 at-bats.
But things were different this time around. The Flames were able to put the Vols away with a complete performance from the pitching staff and the offense.
It all started with Jonathan Embry’s two-run homer in the top of the first inning. Even though Garrett Stallings was able to retire the next three batters, the damage had been done as the Vols trailed, 2-0.
Meyer didn’t start off so well. A lead-off single from Justin Ammons led to Jay Charleston getting hit by a pitch and all of a sudden, Meyer had two runners on with no out. The Vols had a chance to score, but a fielder’s choice led to Ammons getting tagged out at home plate before they could cut into the Flames’ lead.
A Tyler Galazin double in the top of the third brought Logan Mathieu home to extend Liberty’s lead to 3-0. Despite Garrett Stallings’ attempts at damage control, he was getting no help from Tennessee’s bats. After the first inning, the Vols recorded just one hit in four innings.
A throwing error led to a 4-0 Liberty lead and Stallings was subsequently pulled for reliever Will Heflin, but Tennessee still couldn’t get anything done in the bottom of the sixth as Meyer continued to dominate.
Liberty put the final two runs on the board in the top of the seventh, essentially ending the game. An Evan Russell homer in the bottom of the seventh avoided the shutout and gave the Vols their only highlight of the night.
As a team, Tennessee went 6-of-31 from the plate, which is obviously no formula for success in a tournament setting. Russell was by far and away the best offensive performer on the night, going 2-of-4 with the home run.
The Vols are now left with a must-win scenario against UNC-Wilmington on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 12:06PM EST and be streamed on ESPN3 and the ESPN App. Fans can also listen live on the Vol Radio Network (FM 99.1/AM 990).