Liberty baseball falls at Elon, 10-5

libertyThe Liberty Flames could not overcome an early Elon Phoenix advantage, falling 10-5, Tuesday at Latham Park. The host Phoenix jumped out to an 8-1 lead after three innings, en route to the victory.

Peyton Scarbrough and Sammy Taormina each hit their first home run of the season for the Flames. Liberty catcher Scarbrough got the Flames on the scoreboard with a two-out, solo home run in the second. Taormina belted a three-run round tripper as a pinch hitter in the sixth.

Liberty falls to 7-6 on the year. Elon moves to 6-7.

After Elon starting pitcher Jordan Barrett worked out of base-loaded, no out jam in the top of the first, the host Phoenix scored a two-out run in the bottom of the inning. With one out, second baseman Nick Zammerelli double. He later scored on a two-out single by first baseman Tyler McVicar for a 1-0 edge.

Liberty evened the contest in the top of the second inning, only to see Elon plate two in the bottom of the inning. With two out, catcher Scarbrough belted a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall, tying the game at 1-1.

In the bottom of the frame, the Phoenix struck for two runs. With two out, CJ Young was hit by a pitch and scored on a double by Zammerelli. Center fielder Kyle Jackson followed with a run-scoring single, giving Elon a 3-1 advantage.

The host team added to its lead in the third. Left fielder Brett Guba doubled with one out and scored on an infield single by shortstop Ryne Orgen, upping the Phoenix advantage to 4-1.

Back-to-back home runs with two out extended Elon’s lead in the fourth. After a walk and a single kept the bottom of the inning alive, McVicar hit his second home run of the year for a 7-1 advantage. Guba followed with his first of the season to give the Phoenix an 8-1 lead.

Liberty cut into Elon’s advantage with four runs in the top of the sixth. Second baseman Eric Grabowski and first baseman Andrew Yacyk led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After Grabowski moved to third base on a fielder’s choice, he scored the first run of the inning on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Taormina entered the contest as a pinch hitter and promptly ripped an offering by Phoenix reliever Robbie Welhaf over the right field wall, slicing the Elon edge to 8-5.

Guba opened the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run, his second of the contest to up the Phoenix’s advantage to 9-5.

Elon added a run in the eighth for what proved to be the final score of 10-5.

Liberty starting pitcher Geoffrey Murphy drops to 1-1 on the season. The first of four Flames pitchers, Murphy gave up three runs on four hits over two innings. He struck out one and walked two.

Elon reliever Sean Byrnes moves to 1-0. The second of five Phoenix to take the mound in the contest, the right-hander allowed three runs on six hits over four innings. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.

Right-hander Ryan Conroy records his first save of his collegiate career by pitching the final 3 1/3 innings. The freshman yield one hit. He struck out two and walked two.

The Phoenix outhit the Flames, 13-10.

Elon outfielder McVicar drove in a career-high five runs with three hits, one a home run.

Liberty returns home to host the 2016 LaQuinta Inn and Suites Liberty Invitational, which begins on Friday at Liberty Baseball Stadium. Evansville will face Central Connecticut State at 1 p.m., followed by the Flames squaring off with CCSU at 5 p.m.

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