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No. 9 St. John's Edges Liberty, 5-4, in 10 Innings

March 10, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Catcher Matt Allen had three hits and two RBI, Friday.

Catcher Matt Allen had three hits and two RBI, Friday.

Despite overcoming two deficits, the Liberty Flames fell to the ninth-ranked St. John's Red Storm, 5-4, in 10 innings, Friday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

The Flames erased a 3-0 Red Storm advantage with three runs in the seventh and answered a run by St. John's in the top of the eighth with a run of their own in the bottom half. However, the host Flames were never able to take a lead in the contest.

Flames catcher Matt Allen had a season-high three hits and two RBI in the contest.

Liberty drops to 8-5 on the year. St. John's moves to 11-1.

The visiting Red Storm took a 1-0 lead in their opening at bat. First baseman John Valente, who had three hits in the contest, led off the first inning with a triple. Two batters later, right fielder Anthony Brocato lifted a fly ball to center field, plating Valente for an early advantage.

Liberty pitcher Evan Mitchell and St. John's starting pitcher Sean Mooney held their opponents in check over the next four innings, allowing two hits each during the first five innings.

After Mitchell worked out of a bases loaded and one out jam in the fifth, St. John's extended its advantage in the sixth. With one out, left fielder Michael Donadio doubled and third baseman Robbie Knightes reached on an error by Flames third baseman Dylan Allen. Both runners then moved into scoring position on a ground out by center fielder Jamie Galazin. Pinch hitter Gui Gingras followed with a two-out single, scoring both runners for a 3-0 edge.

In the seventh, Liberty struck for three runs to tie the contest. Center fielder Jack Morris opened the home half of the inning with a walk and moved to second on a fly out by left fielder D.J. Artis. Matt Allen followed with a single to plate Morris with the Flames' first run of the game. Left fielder Jake Barbee then singled and later scored along with Allen on a two-out single by first baseman Sammy Taormina which knotted the game at 3-3.

The Red Storm and Flames exchanged single runs in the eighth. With two out in the top of the inning, Gingras, who had three hits in the contest, hit his second home run of the year, to give St. John's a one-run edge at 4-3.

Trey McDyre, who entered the contest in the sixth inning as a pinch hitter, singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Cam Locklear to open the home half of the eighth. Pinch hitter Jonathan Embry walked and Artis singled to load the bases with one out. Matt Allen followed with a run-scoring single to even the score for the second time at 4-4.

St. John's scored what proved to be the winning run in the 10th. Donadio led off the inning with a single and stole second with one out. Two batters later, Gingras singled to left to score Donadio for a 5-4 edge.

In the bottom of the inning, Liberty tried to rally, moving the tying run into scoring position. With two outs, both Artis and Matt Allen were hit by a pitch. With Matt Allen at second, Red Storm reliever Aaron Herr retired the next batter to seal the 5-4 victory.

Liberty reliever Shane Quarterley, the last of three Flames to pitch in the contest, falls to 2-1 on the year. He gave up an unearned run on four hits. Quarterley struck out five.

Herr moves to 1-0. The fifth Red Storm pitcher, the right-hander pitched a scoreless 1 2/3 innings, striking out three.

Hits were even in the contest at 10 apiece. Liberty committed two errors, while St. John's made one.

Up Next: St. John's and Liberty will meet in a doubleheader, tomorrow at Liberty Baseball Stadium. The first game is scheduled to start at 12 p.m.