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Two Ninth Inning Runs Push Tribe Past Flames
Trailing by a run in the ninth, the Tribe of William and Mary scored twice in their final at bat to edge the Liberty Flames, 5-4, Saturday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.
With the non-conference setback, Liberty falls to 33-14 on the season, while William and Mary moves to 17-27.
The Tribe opened the game with a run in the first inning. Jeff Lundari led off the game with a single up the middle and moved to second on a wild pitch. After a sacrifice bunt moved the William and Mary third baseman to third, he would score the first run of the contest on a ground out by Greg Maliniak.
The Flames came back in the bottom of the first to grab a 3-1 advantage. After Chad Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.) walked and Michael Just (Sr., 2B, Woodcliff Lake, N.J) reached on a fielding error by the Tribe third baseman, Aaron Grijalva singled sharply through the gap between the shortstop and the third baseman to plate both Liberty runners. Grijalva later stole second and scored on a fielding error by the second baseman on a ground ball by P.K. Keller (So., CF, St. Petersburg, Fla.).
William and Mary knotted the contest at 3-3 with single runs in both the second and third innings. In the second inning, Robbie Nickle reached on a fielding error by the Flames shortstop, advanced to second on single by Paul Juliano and scored on a RBI single by James Williamson. In the third inning, Mike Sheridan and Greg Sexton led off the frame with back-to-back singles and two batters later, Sheridan scored on an infield single.
Liberty went in front in the home half of the eighth. Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.) opened the frame with a double into the left field corner. With one out, the Flames then loaded the bases as both Keller and Tommy Bussey (Fr., 2B, Boynton Beach, Fla.) walked. Abe Yeakel lifted a fly ball to left, plating Laurent and putting Liberty up, 4-3.
In the ninth, the Tribe struck for two runs. Juliano walked to open the frame. After the next batter was called out for batter interference, Juliano moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Lundari single. The third baseman, who had advance to second on the throw to home plate, advanced to third base on a ground out and scored the winning run on wild pitch with two outs for a 5-4 win as the Flames were retired in order in the bottom of the ninth.
Liberty reliever Tim John (Jr., RHP, Linwood, N.J.) pitched the ninth inning and allowed two runs on one hit, while walking two to fall to 4-3 on the season. He was the third of three Flames hurlers on the afternoon. Starter Dustin Umberger (Fr., RHP, Hummelstown, Pa.) allowed three runs, two unearned, in four innings of work, while Phillip Thompson (Sr., RHP, Ringgold, Va.) held the Tribe in check over four innings as he allowed no runs and only one hit, while striking out five and walking one. William and Mary's fifth pitcher of the game, Joe Kantakevich picked up the win to even his mark at 3-3 on the season. The senior right-hander allowed one run on one hit and walked two in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
Patrick Gaillard (Jr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) and Laurent both had two hits on the afternoon for the Flames, while Juliano was 3-for-3 with a walk and Lundari had two hits for the Tribe.
Liberty now takes five-day break from action for exams, before returning to Big South Conference play this Friday in the start of a three-game weekend series at UNC Asheville. Game time on Friday is set for 3 p.m.