P.K. Keller singled with the base loaded in the bottom of the 12th inning to score Chad Miller as the Liberty Flames defeated the Rider Broncs, 3-2, Sunday afternoon at Worthington Stadium to sweep the three-game weekend series between the two teams.
The Flames move to 7-2 with their fifth consecutive win and first victory in extra innings this season, while the Broncs fall to 0-3.
Liberty jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Patrick Gaillard (Jr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) doubled to center field to open the frame and moved third on a sacrifice bunt by Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.). After the next batter, Michael Just (Sr., 2B, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) was hit by a pitch, Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.) singled to left to score Gaillard. Just then scored the Flames' second run of the inning on a RBI ground out by Errol Hollinger (Fr., C, Upland, Calif.).
Rider cut the Liberty advantage to 2-1 in the second inning. Gene Crimoli singled to open the inning for the Broncs and after advancing to third on a hit-and-run single by Mike Poalise, scored on a ground out by James Hayes.
The score remained that way until the seventh inning when Rider shortstop Hayes hit a solo home run to left, his first of the season, to knot the score at 2-2.
Neither team threatened to break the tie until the 11th inning as the Flames loaded the bases in the frame with one out, only to have Broncs' reliever Mike Petrowski get the next two Liberty batters to fly out.
In the 12th inning, Miller reached on an error by the Rider second baseman to lead off the inning and advanced to third on an overthrow on a pick off attempt by the Broncs' pitcher. Just and Laurent were then intentionally walked to load the bases. With the infield in, Keller (So., CF, St. Petersburg, Fla.) delivered the winning run with a single to left field.
Both Liberty pitchers, starter Michael Solbach (r-So., RHP, Woodbridge, Va.) and reliever Ryan Page (So., LHP, Cranberry Twp., Pa.), gave the Flames strong efforts as neither pitcher walked a batter on the afternoon. Solbach went the first eight innings allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out six. Page entered in the ninth and ran his record to 3-0 on the season, allowing only one hit and striking out four in four innings of relief. Rider's Petrowski picked up the loss, his first of the season.
Liberty hits the road for a visit to Harrisonburg, Va. on Wednesday afternoon for a non-conference game with the James Madison Dukes. First pitch at Mauck Stadium is set for 2:30 p.m.