Michael Just's single to right field with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Shawn Teufel with the winning run as the Liberty Flames overcame a three-run deficit to edge Rider, 11-10, in the opening game of a three-game series between the two teams, Friday at Worthington Stadium.
With the win, Liberty moves to 5-2 on the season, while Rider drops its opening game of the 2006 season. Five of the Flames seven games have been decided by a run.
Rider opened up the scoring with two runs in the top half of the second inning. With runners at the corners and one out, Brad States singled sharply up the middle, scoring both runners and staking the Broncs to a 2-0 early lead.
The Flames came back in the bottom of the inning to take the lead with three of their own. P.K. Keller (So., CF, St. Petersburg, Fla.) walked and Abe Yeakel (Jr., DH, Kutztown, Pa.) was hit by a pitch to open the frame, the pair advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Derek Bennion (r-Jr., RF, Snohomish, Wash.). The pair then scored on a single by Teufel (Fr., 1B, Tequesta, Fla.) to right field to tie the game at 2-2. Patrick Gaillard (Jr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) then delivered a RBI single with two outs to plate Teufel and give Liberty a 3-2 lead.
Rider tied the game at 3-3 in the third inning on an RBI single by Mike Poalise, only to see the Flames go back in front in the fourth inning on a solo home run by Teufel, the first of his collegiate career.
Three unearned runs in the fifth inning allowed the lead to change hands again. The Broncs' Poalise reached on an error to open the inning and later score on a wild pitch to tie the game at 4-4. After back-to-back singles by Jeff Reynolds and Justin Squashic, Bryan Wagner doubled to the right center field gap to score the two runners and put Rider back in front 6-4.
In the bottom of the frame, Liberty scored twice to knot the score at 6-6. Keller's RBI triple would bring home Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.), who had walked, to open the inning and then scored as next batter Yeakel grounded out.
Rider grabbed the lead back in the sixth inning. Gene Crimoli doubled to center field to lead off the inning and a batter later score on a Poalise single. The Bronc center fielder then stole second base and later scored from second base on a passed ball for an 8-6 advantage.
Liberty got one back in the bottom of the inning. Gaillard, who walked three times on the afternoon, walked, stole second, advance to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Just (Sr., 2B, Woodcliff Lakes, N.J.).
Rider added two more runs in the top of the seventh inning to go up 10-7. With two outs, Crimoli, who was 2-for-3 on the afternoon, singled in both runs with a bloop hit to center field.
The Flames rallied to cut the lead to 10-9 in the eighth inning. Gaillard was once again the catalyst as he would walk, steal second and score on a Just two-out single. The Liberty second baseman stole second and advanced to third on an overthrow by the Bronc's catcher. He then scored on a wild pitch for the Flames' second run of the frame.
With it getting dark at Worthington Stadium, Liberty's Bennion would draw a walk to open the inning. The right fielder then swiped second and moved to third on an error by the Rider shortstop which allowed Teufel to reach base. Next batter Errol Hollinger (Fr., C, Upland, Calif.) single to center field to plate Bennion and tie the game at 10-10. The Flames then loaded the bases with one out. Just singled to right field over a drawn infield to score Teufel for the 11-10 victory.
Liberty starter Tyler Light (Fr., RHP, San Bernardino, Calif) went three innings allowing three runs on seven hits. Dustin Umberger (Fr. RHP, Hummelstown, Pa.) followed with two innings of work allowing three runs, all unearned, striking out four. Tim John pitched the next three innings yielding four runs, three earned, on five hits, while striking out four. Billy Daniels (Sr., RHP, Colonial Heights, Va.), the last pitcher of the afternoon for the Flames, picked up his fist win of the season with one inning of relief. Mike Dyszel took the loss for Rider allowing three runs, one earned, in 2/3 innings.
Liberty and Rider meet again tomorrow afternoon in the second of the three-game weekend series. First pitch at Worthington Stadium is set for 1 p.m.