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Liberty Rallies, Before Falling in Ninth, 5-4

May 13, 2017  Richmond, Va.  RSS
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Liberty starting pitcher Evan Mitchell gave up one run on four hits over the first five innings.

Liberty starting pitcher Evan Mitchell gave up one run on four hits over the first five innings.

A two-out single by left fielder Alex Gransback pushed the VCU Rams past the Liberty Flames, 5-4, Saturday afternoon at the Diamond.

After being held to just two hits over the first eight innings, the Flames fought back from a 4-0 deficit with four runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game, only to see the Rams score in the bottom of the inning for the walk-off victory.

Liberty falls to 29-19 on the season. VCU moves to 30-19. The non-conference contest was the first between the two teams since 2012.

After a scoreless first four innings, VCU tallied the first run of the game in the home half of the fifth. Third baseman Daane Berezo drew a one-out walk and moved to third on a double down the right field line by center fielder Logan Farrar. After Berezo was thrown out at home trying to score on a grounder by Gransback, second baseman Paul Witt singled to right, plating Farrar for a 1-0 edge.

Liberty moved the tying run to third base in the top of the eighth, but came away empty. Catcher Payton Scarbrough led off the inning with a single back through the middle of the diamond. A sacrifice bunt by shortstop Cam Locklear and a ground out by pinch hitter Will Shepherd moved pinch runner Jonathan Embry to third with two outs. However, reliever Sam Donko was able to get center fielder D.J. Artis to bounce back to the mound to end the inning and hold the one-run VCU lead.

In the bottom half of the eighth, a three-run home run by  first baseman Darian Carpenter, his 12th of the season, widened the Rams' lead to 4-0.

Liberty left fielder Jake Barbee and first baseman Sammy Taormina reached on back-to-back one-out singles to begin the Flames' four-run ninth. Designated hitter Eric Grabowski followed with a single to plate Liberty's first run of contest.

After pinch hitter Dylan Allen walked to load the bases, Locklear drew a two-out walk to force in a run and slice the Rams' advantage to 4-2. Right fielder Will Shepherd then sent a grounder to third, which was misplayed by VCU third baseman Berezo and rolled into left field, allowing two runs to score and knot the game at 4-4.

In the bottom of the ninth, VCU shortstop Zac Ching opened the inning with a double and advance to third on a wild pitch with one out. Liberty pitcher Grabowski retired the next batter, before Gransback singled to plate Ching for the 5-4 win.

Grabowski drops to 1-2 on the season. The third Liberty pitcher of the contest, he pitched the bottom of the ninth allowing one run on two hits.

Sam Donko evens his record at 3-3. The right-hander allowed four runs on four hits over two innings. He struck out two and walked two.

VCU outhit Liberty, 9-5. Each team committed an error.

Up Next: The Flames and Rams will meet again tomorrow afternoon at the Diamond. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.