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Liberty Edged in Ninth Inning by VCU
After the Liberty Flames tied the game with a run in the top of the ninth, the VCU Rams used a two-out squeeze bunt in the bottom of the inning to edge Liberty, 5-4, Wednesday evening at the Diamond.
Trailing 4-3, Liberty knotted the contest in the top of the ninth inning. Left fielder Ian Parmley opened the frame with an infield single and moved into scoring position by stealing second base. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Parmley tied the game at 4-4 on another wild pitch by Ram reliever Blake Hauser. Liberty did move the go-ahead run, Bryan Aanderud who walked, into scoring position at second base in the inning. But, Hauser retired the next two Flames to end the frame.
In the bottom of the inning, VCU third baseman Joey Cujas reached on catcher's interference to open the frame. After moving to third on a sacrifice bunt and a ground out, right fielder Taylor Buran squeezed home Cujas for the 5-4 victory.
Liberty falls to 25-7. VCU moves to 17-12. The Rams have now won five straight games.
After a scoreless first three innings, Liberty jumped onto the scoreboard with two runs in the top of the fourth. Center fielder Andy Smith walked on four straight pitches to lead off the frame and advanced to third base on a hit-and-run single by second baseman Aanderud.
Designated hitter Tyler Cox followed with a ground out to plate Smith with the game's first run. Two batters later, right fielder Ryan Cordell singled back through the middle of the infield, scoring Aanderud to give the Flames a 2-0 edge.
In their next at bat, the Flames added to their advantage. Third baseman Dalton Sype began the Liberty fifth inning with a single. Shortstop Zack Haley followed by lining a double down the left field line to quickly deliver Sype for a 3-0 lead.
VCU answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the contest. Left fielder Paul Nice singled with one out and moved to third base on a single by center fielder Bill Cullen. Nice then scored the first run of the frame on a wild pitch by Liberty starting pitcher Brooks Roy. Second baseman Jordan Weymouth followed with a RBI triple and later, knotted the game at 3-3 on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Brent Mikionis.
In the top of the seventh, the Flames loaded the bases with two outs. However, Ram reliever Matt Lees was able to induce a ground out by the next Liberty batter to keep the game tied.
After a 33-minute rain delay, VCU broke the deadlock in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Buran singled and shortstop Vimael Machin walked. After a Liberty pitching change, catcher Nick Abrahamson sent a single back through the middle of the infield, scoring Buran and putting VCU in front, 4-3.
Liberty reliever Patrick Bankemper falls to 2-2. He allowed one run on two hits in 1 1/3 innings of work. The fourth Flames pitcher in the contest, Bankemper struck out one batter and walked one.
Hauser evens his record at 1-1 for VCU. The Ram relief pitcher gave up one run on one hit in one inning, striking out two batters and walking two.
Liberty collected nine hits in the contest. Haley led the Flames with two hits. VCU had 11 hits. Buran had three hits for the Rams.
Liberty now returns home for a three-game Big South series with the Campbell Fighting Camels, beginning Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Worthington Stadium.