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Virginia Tech Edges Liberty, 4-3
Chad Morgan's ninth-inning single gave the Virginia Tech Hokies a 4-3 victory over the Liberty Flames, Tuesday evening at English Field.
Liberty outhit Virginia Tech, 12-7, but left 10 men on base in the game.
The Flames drop to 36-17 overall. The Hokies, who have won 18 consecutive nonconference games, move to 34-18.
The host Hokies jumped out to an early advantage in the first inning. With two out, left fielder Tyler Horan lined his 14th home run over the center field fence for a quick 1-0 edge.
Liberty plated two runs in the third. Third baseman Dalton Sype walked and shortstop Zack Haley reached on a bunt single to lead off the inning. After Haley was out at second base on a fielder's choice, Sype scored on a throwing error by Virginia Tech catcher Morgan trying to catch left fielder Ian Parmley stealing second base. Designated hitter Michael Robertson followed with a run-scoring single to put the Flames in front, 2-1.
In the fourth, Liberty extended its lead. Right fielder Ryan Cordell reached on a fielder's choice and stole second base. Sype then singled back through the middle of the diamond, scoring Cordell and giving the Flames a 3-1 edge.
Virginia Tech tied the game in the fifth. With a runner on third base and one out, a fielder's choice grounder by center fielder Kyle Wernicki plated the first Hokie run of the frame. Two batters later, second baseman Alex Perez dropped a two-out double into left field to bring home Wernicki and knot the game at 3-3.
Liberty put runners on the corners with one out in the top of the eighth, only to be turned away. With one out, Cordell walked and advanced to third on a single to center fielder by catcher Trey Wimmer. But, Sype popped a squeeze bunt attempt back to the pitcher for a double play to end the inning.
Virginia Tech also moved a runner to third base in the bottom of the eighth. Perez opened the inning with a single and advanced to third with two out. However, Liberty reliever Jared Lyons struck out Hokie first baseman Ronnie Shaban, stranding the runner.
After the Flames left runners at the corners again in the top of the ninth, shortstop Johnny Morales began the bottom of the inning with a double and stole third base. After a ground out for the first out of the frame, Morgan singled to center field to score Morales and give the Hokies their seventh walk-off win of the year, 4-3.
Lyons, the fifth Liberty pitcher in the game, falls to 2-4 on the season. The left-hander allowed one run on three hits over 3 1/3 innings of relief. He struck two batters and walked two batters.
Tanner McIntyre moves to 7-0. The seventh Hokie to pitch in the contest, McIntyre retired one batter in the top of the ninth, getting out of a jam.
Haley led all hitters in the contest with three hits.
Liberty will travel to Radford, Va., to complete the 2012 regular season. The Flames will face the Radford Highlanders in a three-game Big South series, beginning Thursday. Game time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.