Third baseman Tyler Galazin's RBI single in the 11th inning gave the Liberty Flames a walk-off, 5-4, win over the Canisius Golden Griffins, Sunday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Liberty loaded the bases with one out as three straight batters were hit by a pitch by Canisius reliever Kyle Warner. After taking the first pitch for a ball from new Golden Griffins pitcher Andrew Kneussle, Galazin, hitless in the contest, ripped a liner just out the reach of the shortstop off, plating left fielder Tre Todd for the 5-4 win.
With the victory in its first extra-inning game of the year, Liberty moves to 9-7 on the season. Canisius, who won the first two games of the three-game series, drops to 10-4.
Golden Griffins third baseman third baseman Ryan Stekl gave the visitors a 1-0 edge in the fourth. The third baseman led off the inning with his fourth home run of the year for the first run of the contest.
Canisius extended its advantage with a run in the seventh. Second baseman Joseph Preziuso singled off the leg of Liberty reliever Garret Price and advanced to second on a throwing error by the pitcher. After moving to third on a ground out, Preziuso scored on a two-out single by first baseman Liam Wilson for a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, the Flames sliced their deficit to one. With two outs, second baseman Trey McDyre, who had two singles in the contest, singled. Center fielder D.J. Artis, who had three hits in the contest, followed by tripling off the top of the right field wall to trim the Griffins' edge to 2-1.
Each team plated two runs in the eighth. With two men on and one out in the top of the eighth, catcher Nick Capitano doubled for the first Canisius run of the inning. The next batter, Preziuso, followed with a run-scoring squeeze bunt for a 4-1 lead.
Liberty answered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning. Designated hitter Andrew Yacyk singled, and first baseman Dylan Allen walked to open the frame. After Golden Griffin reliever Michael Ginther retired the next two Flames, catcher Matt Allen singled to load the bases. After a pitching change, shortstop Cam Locklear ripped a two-run single into right, pulling Liberty back to within one at 4-3.
Artis opened the Flames' ninth with a walk and stole second base. After the outfielder moved to third on a ground out by Todd, Yacyk ripped a single into left field, deadlocking the contest at 4-4. Pinch runner Brady Heid then moved into scoring position by stealing second and Dylan Allen walked, but Canisius right-hander Tyler Smith retired the next two batters to send the game to extras.
Liberty reliever Zach Clinton, who came on in the eighth, set down the Griffins in order in the 10th and 11th.
With one out in bottom 11th, Todd, Heid, and Dylan Allen were each hit by a pitch, filling the bases for Galazin.
Clinton pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, moving his record to 3-2 on the season. The right-hander, the fourth Liberty pitcher in the contest, allowed one hit and struck out one. He did not walk a batter.
Warner falls to 0-1 on the year for Canisius. The fifth of six Golden Griffins to pitch in the contest, he gave up one run over 1 1/3 innings. He struck out two. Despite not walking a batter, he did hit three batters.
Liberty outhit Canisius, 10-8. The Flames committed the only error of the contest.
Up Next: Liberty will wrap-up a six-game homestand by welcoming the George Mason Patriots to Liberty Baseball Stadium on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
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