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Despite Late Rally, Flames Fall to Tribe, 5-3
Despite rallying late, Liberty was unable to overcome a five-run deficit, as the Tribe of William & Mary defeated the Flames, 5-3, Tuesday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
The Tribe's victory halts Liberty's winning streak at nine and was the first setback for the Flames at the new Liberty Baseball Stadium. Liberty had won its first seven contests in the stadium.
Liberty falls to 9-3 on the season. William & Mary moves to 8-4 on year.
The visiting Tribe staked themselves to a 2-0 advantage in the game's opening inning. With one out, center fielder Ryan Brown was hit by a pitch and advanced to third base on a double by second baseman Ryan Lindemuth. Brown scored the game's first run on a wild pitch, and the Tribe built a 2-0 lead, when third baseman Michael Katz followed with a groundout to plate Lindemuth.
William & Mary extended its lead with a run in the fourth inning. Shortstop Ryan Williams led off the frame with a single, and later scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Brown for a 3-0 edge.
The Tribe stretched its lead in the top of the fifth. With one out, catcher Ryan Hissey reached when right fielder Nick Paxton dropped a fly ball and Williams walked. Three batters later, first baseman Kevin Nutter lined a two-out single to left field, bringing home two runs for a 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Liberty cut into its deficit with its first run of the game. With one out, first baseman Alex Close singled through the left side of the infield and advanced to second on a groundout by shortstop Dalton Britt. Left fielder Nick Lacik followed with a two-out single to right field to score Close to make it, 5-1.
The Flames close the gap on the scoreboard with two runs in the eighth. With one out, Lacik walked and advance to third base on a fielding error by Katz on a grounder by Liberty third baseman Dalton Sype. The next batter, right fielder Nick Paxton plated Lacik with the frame's first run with a RBI ground out. Center fielder Ryan Cordell followed by lining a double into the left field corner to score Sype, and the Tribe lead to 5-3.
However in the bottom of the ninth, William & Mary reliever Mitchell Aker allowed only one Liberty runner in closing out the victory for the visitors.
Flames starter Adam Parks drops to 1-1 on the year. The right-hander gave up two runs on four hits during the first two innings of the contest. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
Tribe starter J.T. Castner moves to 1-0 on the season. He allowed one run on four hits over seven innings of work. The right-hander allowed his defense to do the work, as he did not strike out or walk a batter. Aker, the last of three pitchers in the game, records his second save of the year. He pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, striking out one and walking one.
William & Mary collected 10 hits in the contest. Nutter led all hitters in the game with three. Liberty managed five hits, with Cordell recording two.
The Flames next travel to Athens, Ga., for a three-game weekend series at Georgia. The series opener gets under way Friday with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.