Liberty rallies, but falls in ninth, 7-6

libertyAfter Liberty shortstop Dalton Britt tied the game with a two-out single in the top of the ninth, Old Dominion center fielder Connor Meyers hit his second home run of the contest leading off the bottom of inning, giving the Monarchs a 7-6 victory over the Flames, Tuesday afternoon at Bud Metheny Baseball Complex.

The advantage went back-and-forth in the seesaw affair, as the lead changed hands six times and the score was tied four times.

Britt had two hits in the game. Both came with two outs to drive in runs and tie the contest. The senior shortstop has reached safely in all nine Liberty contests.

Second baseman Eric Grabowski hit his first home run in a Flames’ uniform with one out in the top of the eighth to give Liberty a 5-4 advantage at the time.

Catcher Josh Latta had two hits, including his first Liberty home run. He also had two RBI.

      Flames designated hitter Nick Walker collected a career-high four hits and scored a run.

Liberty drops to 5-4 on the season. Old Dominion moves to 7-1.

      Old Dominion took a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first inning. Meyers opened the home half of the game’s opening frame with a single and advanced to third base on a one-out single by shortstop Zach Rutherford. Second baseman Jason McMurray followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Monarchs an advantage.

Liberty tied the contest with a run in the top of the third. With one out, designated hitter Nick Walker doubled. He then scored when a grounder by right fielder Will Shepherd was misplayed by Rutherford, tying the score at 1-1.

In the bottom of the inning, Old Dominion loaded the bases with one out, only to come away empty. Liberty starting pitcher Geoffrey Murphy retired both the Monarchs’ three and four hitters on a short fly out and a line out to the third baseman to keep Old Dominion off the scoreboard.

The Flames took a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Latta lead off the inning with his blast over the left field wall to give Liberty a one-run edge.

Liberty added to its lead with a run in the sixth. Third baseman Andrew Kowalo opened the inning with a double and advanced to third on a throwing error by Old Dominion right fielder Nick Walker. After the next two batters walked, loading the bases, Latta lifted a run-producing sacrifice fly to extend the Flames’ advantage to 3-1. Monarch reliever Nate Matheson then prevented any further scoring by retiring the next two batters.

In the bottom of the inning, Old Dominion knotted the contest. Rutherford began the host half of the sixth with a double into the left fielder corner. Two batters later, catcher Kyle Beam tripled to plate the first run of the inning. Designated hitter Kurt Sinnen then lifted a fly ball to score Beam to tie the contest at 3-3.

Liberty pushed across a run to take the lead in the seventh. Walker led off the inning with a single. After taking over as a pinch runner for Walker, Tray Roberts stole second base with one out and moved to third when the throw from Old Dominion catcher Beam got away from second baseman McMurray. Two batters later, Britt singled through the left side of the infield, scoring Roberts for a 4-3 short-lived edge.

The Monarchs tied it again in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Meyers hit second home run of the year on a 3-2 pitch, knotting the game at 4-4.

Grabowski’s solo home run in the top of the eighth gave Liberty the lead again. With one out in the eighth, the second baseman ripped a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for a 5-4 edge.

In the bottom of the inning, reliever Shane Quarterley retired the first two batters of the inning. Back-to-back singles by Beam and a single by Sinnen kept the inning alive. After an intentional walk to load the bases, pinch hitter Turner Bishop gave Old Dominion a 6-5 lead with a two-run single.

Liberty knotted the score at 6-6 with two out in top of the ninth. With one out, Shepherd singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Britt poked a 1-2 pitch into left field, scoring Shepherd.

Flames reliever Jordan Scott drops to 0-1. The final pitcher of four Liberty pitchers in the contest, Scott allowed one on one hit over 1/3 of an inning.

Monarch reliever Nick Hartman moves to 1-0. The fifth pitcher of the games for Old Dominion, he gave up one run on two hits in the top of the ninth.

Liberty collected 13 hits. Old Dominion had 11 and committed three errors.

The Flames return home to Liberty Baseball Stadium for a three-game series against the Connecticut Huskies, this weekend. The series gets underway at 3 p.m. on Friday.

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