Trailing 3-1, the Liberty Flames rallied to score four seventh-inning runs for a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Saturday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.
With the victory, Liberty moves to 17-4 on the season, while Rutgers drops to 4-10. The Flames have won 15 of their last 17 games.
The Scarlet Knights took an early 2-0 lead with single runs in both the first and second innings. In the first inning, Rutgers plated a run on double play and in the second, on a RBI double by second baseman Mike Bionde.
Liberty cut the lead to 2-1 in the third inning. With two outs, Aaron Grijalva (r-So., 1B, Redlands, Calif.) walked, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. The next batter Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.) doubled to right center field to score Grijalva.
The Scarlet Knights added another run in the seventh inning on a RBI single by Jeff Grose for a 3-1 lead.
However, the 3-1 advantage was short lived as the Flames erupted for four runs in the bottom half of the inning. Phil John (Jr., RF, Linwood, N.J.) and Patrick Gaillard (Jr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) singled to open the inning. The next batter Chad Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.) singled up the middle to scored John with Liberty's second run of the afternoon. After a fielder's choice and a fly out, Laurent chased both runners home with a double off the left center field wall, his second double of the game, to put the Flames in front, 4-3. P.K. Keller (So., CF, St. Petersburg, Fla.) followed with a RBI double to the bottom of the center field wall for a 5-3 Liberty lead.
Rutgers rallied in the ninth inning with two outs. A throwing error by the Flames third baseman and back-to-back singles loaded the bases, but reliever Phillip Thompson (Sr., RHP, Ringgold, Va.) induced the next Scarlet Knight batter to pop up to end the game.
Liberty starter Dane Beakler (Fr., RHP, York, Pa.) ran his record to 2-1, allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits in seven innings, while striking out two and walking one. Dustin Umberger (Fr., RHP, Hummelstown, Pa.) worked 1 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and striking one. Thompson entered the game and pitched to two batters to earn his fourth save of the season.
Freshman right-hander Matt Giannini took the loss for Rutgers to fall to 0-4 on the season.
Miller went 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run and John went 3-for-4 with a run for the Flames. Laurent with two doubles and Gaillard also had multiple hit games for Liberty. Designated hitter Tom Edwards with three hits and Grose with two hits had multiple hit games for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers and Liberty will meet again tomorrow in the final game of their three-game weekend series. First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for Noon.