Baseball vs. William & Mary

The Liberty Flames baseball team won its first home game of the season when it defeated the William & Mary Tribe 8-4 at Liberty Baseball Stadium Feb. 23.

The Flames used seven pitchers in the game in order for each to get some playing time and experience which could pay off later in the year.

“All along we were going to use seven or eight pitchers just to get their feet wet,” Head Coach Jim Toman said.

Senior ace Geoffrey Murphy, a graduate transfer from Boston College, was the third Flames pitcher to take the mound, throwing three scoreless innings with no hits on 49 pitches against the Tribe.

“It was good to get in there,” Murphy said. “My focus was to keep attacking. I was just trying to go out and do my job as well as I could and give us a chance to win.”

The Tribe took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Sophomore infielder Ryan Hall sent an RBI double down the leftfield line that scored freshman infielder Kyle Wrighte for the first run of the game.

Hall scored the second run of the game on an RBI single from senior center fielder Josh Smith.

Smith plated later in the inning on another RBI single, this one from freshman designated hitter Jason Waldman.

Down 3-0 early, the Flames immediately responded.

Junior second baseman Andrew Kowalo got on base in the bottom of the third with a one-out double. He scored on a triple from freshman center fielder D.J. Artis for the Flames’ first run of the game.

Sophomore third baseman Dylan Allen reached first and Artis scored thanks to a throwing error from the Tribe infield.

The onslaught continued with a double to left centerfield from junior left fielder Andrew Yacyk that scored Allen to tie the game 3-3.

Yacyk scored a few pitches later on a double from senior shortstop Ashton Britt to give the Flames the lead.

“The bats came out and gave us a chance,” Murphy said. “They are going to be great this year. (Hitting) is something we really concentrate on.”

The Flames crossed home plate three more times in the bottom of the sixth on a three-run home run by Kowalo.

“It was a slider,” Kowalo said. “That whole at-bat was all slow sliders away and he happened to leave one middle-in a little bit, and I got a good swing on it and saw it take off. I knew it was gone.”

Each team added one more run in the eighth inning.

Junior third baseman Tim Hoehn scored the final run for the Tribe on an RBI double from freshman catcher Matthew Keane.

The Flames answered with a run of their own on an RBI single from junior catcher Josh Latta that scored junior first baseman Sammy Taormina from third for the final run of the game.

With eight runs against the Tribe, the Flames have scored 27 runs in their first four games of the 2016 season.

“(The offense) swung the bats great,” Murphy said. “We started a little bit slow, but the guys really picked up the energy and picked up the tempo. We came back from behind again today. There’s so much fight in this team.”

The Flames hope to keep their bats hot when they host the Connecticut Huskies in a weekend series March 4-6 at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

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