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Flames Rally to Tie, but Fall in Ninth at No. 10 Virginia, 8-7

May 2, 2017  Charlottesville, Va.  RSS
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Trey McDyre

Trey McDyre

After Liberty rallied for two runs with two outs in the top of the ninth, a base-loaded single by second baseman Justin Novak in the bottom of the ninth allowed the No. 10 Virginia Cavaliers to slip by the Flames, 8-7, Tuesday evening at Davenport Field.

Down to his last strike with two outs in the top of the ninth and the Flames trailing 7-5, third baseman Trey McDyre dropped a two-run single into left-center field to knot the game at 7-7.

However, in the bottom of the inning, Novak singled with the bases loaded and one out to give the Cavaliers the 8-7 win.

Liberty drops to 26-16 overall. The Flames' four-game winning streak comes to an end. Despite tonight's outcome, Liberty completes its longest road trip of the season with a 6-2 mark.

Virginia moves to 36-11 on year. The Cavaliers have lost only one of their 23 non-conference games this season.

Liberty shortstop Cam Locklear had three hits, the first three-hit game of his career, and scored twice in the contest.

Flames catcher Payton Scarbrough hit his third home run of the year.

The host, Cavaliers, struck for the game's first two runs in the second. Designated hitter Caleb Knight and right fielder Cameron Simmons reached on back-to-back singles to open the home half of the second. After both runners moved up a base on a ground out, a sacrifice fly by left fielder Charlie Cody brought home Simmons for a 1-0 edge. Novak followed with a double into the left center field gap for a 2-0 lead. 

Liberty responded with four runs in the top of the third. The first four Flames to bat in the inning reached. Locklear led off the inning with a liner down the left field line for a double. Back-to-back singles by center fielder Jack Morris and left fielder Jake Barbee plated Morris with Liberty's first run of the contest.

After a bunt single by McDyre loaded the bases, first baseman Sammy Taormina shot a single through the right side of the infield for to score Morris. Groundouts by second baseman Andrew Kowalo and designated hitter Eric Grabowski each scored a run to give the Flames a 4-2 lead.

Virginia countered with a run of its own in the bottom of the third. Center fielder Jake McCarthy opened the bottom of the frame with a triple to right. First baseman Pavin Smith followed with a RBI single to cut the Liberty advantage to 4-3. Later in the inning with  runners at the corners and one out, Flames reliever Zach Clinton entered the contest and got Simmons to bounce into a double play to end the inning and preserve the Liberty one-run edge.

Scarbrough added to the Flames' advantage in the sixth. With one away in the inning, the Liberty catcher ripped a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall extending the Liberty lead to 5-3.

 Virginia struck for three two-out runs to take a one-run advantage in the seventh. With two outs, McCarthy singled and Smith walked to begin the two-out rally. After a Liberty pitching change, a run-scoring single by catcher Robbie Coman moved the Cavaliers to within one at 5-4. Two batters later and the bases loaded, Simmons lined a double into the left center field gap, plating two runs and providing Virginia with a 6-5 lead.

The Cavaliers pushed across an insurance run in the eighth. With two outs, Smith singled and scored on a double by McCarthy, his third hit of the contest, making it, 7-5 Virginia.

The Flames tied the contest in the top of the ninth. With one out, Locklear singled and advanced to second when Morris, representing the tying run, walked. After Cavaliers' reliever Alec Bettinger got the second out of the inning, both Liberty runners moved into scoring position at second and third on a passed ball. With a 2-2 count, McDyre singled to left-center field, knocking in both runners to deadlock the contest at 7-7.

In the bottom of the ninth, designated hitter Caleb Knight walked to begin the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. After the next two batters walked, one intentionally, to load the bases, Novak lined a single through the right side of the infield to plate Knight for the 8-7 victory.

Reliever Jack DeGroat falls to 0-2 for the Flames. The right-hander gave up one run on one hit, walking two, over 2/3 of an inning.

Bettinger improves to 7-0 for the Cavaliers. The right-hander allowed two runs on two hits is the top of the ninth, his only inning of work. He struck out two and walked one.

Virginia out hit Liberty, 14-12. Neither team committed an error

Up Next: Liberty returns home for a three-game Big South series against the Campbell Camels.  The weekend series gets underway, Friday at Liberty Baseball Stadium. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.