Liberty rally falls short in ninth

liberty baseballA ninth-inning Liberty rally came up short, as the Canisius Golden Griffins defeated the Flames, 7-4, Saturday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

Trailing by three runs with one out, Liberty loaded the bases to bring the winning run to the plate to bat. However, Canisius reliever Tyler Smith retired the next two Flames to close out the win for the visitors.

Liberty falls to 8-7 on the season. Canisius, who also won Friday’s contest between the two teams, moves to 10-3.

Each team scored in the game’s opening inning. A one-out bases-loaded single by catcher Christ Conley in the top of the first gave the Golden Griffins a 2-0 edge. A fielding error by Canisius right fielder Mark McKenna on a one-out single by Liberty designated hitter Andrew Yacyk allowed left fielder Tre Todd, who earlier walked, to score.

Leading 2-1, the Griffins extended their lead in the top of the fifth. Second baseman Joseph Preziuso led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by McKenna. After left fielder Gage Lanning reached on a throwing error by Flames third baseman Tyler Galazin, designated hitter Liam Wilson doubled to score Preziuso for a 3-1 edge. First baseman Ryan Stekl followed with a RBI sacrifice fly for a 4-1 advantage.

Liberty countered with a run in the bottom of the inning. Center fielder D.J. Artis, who had two hits in the game, tripled off the right-center field wall to open the frame and came in to score on a ground out by Todd, cutting the Canisius lead to 4-2.

In the top of the sixth, the Griffins extended their advantage. With one out, shortstop Conner Morro doubled and advanced to third on a ground out by center fielder John Conti. Morro then scored on a throwing error by Flames third baseman Galazin to make it 5-2.

In the bottom of the inning, Liberty answered with two runs of their own to move within one on the scoreboard. Shortstop Cam Locklear singled and second baseman Trey McDyre walked to open the home half of the sixth. After both runners advanced into scoring position on a ground out by Artis, Todd lined a two-run double to right field, trimming the Canisius advantage to 5-4.

However, Griffins pitcher Will Frank stranded Todd at second by retiring the next two batters to hold the visitors’ one-run advantage.

Canisius added insurance in the eighth. With runners on second and third, Preziuso lined a two-out single through the right side of the infield for a 7-4 edge.

In the ninth, first baseman Dylan Allen, who had two hits for the Flames, singled with one out and advanced to second when Jonathan Embry walked. Galazin then reached on a fielding error to load the bases, before Smith got the next two batters to seal the victory for the Griffins and record his fifth save of the year.

Liberty starter Jackson Bertsch drops to 1-1 on the season. He allowed five runs on seven hits over six innings, striking three and walking three.

Canisius reliever Nolan Hunt evens his record at 1-1. He gave up one run on one hit in one inning of relief. He walked two batters.

The Golden Griffins collected eight hits and committed two errors in the contest. The Flames had seven hits and also made two errors. Liberty left 13 men on base, while Canisius stranded six.

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