Liberty uses three-run eighth for 7-6 comeback win over ODU

libertyCatcher Payton Scarbrough and designated hitter Josh Latta each had three hits, helping Liberty rally for a 7-6 victory over the Old Dominion Monarchs, Wednesday at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

Trailing 6-4 in the eighth, the Flames plated three runs on three hits to take a 7-6 lead into the final inning of play. Right-hander Carson Herndon then retired the side in the ninth, striking out two batters, to close out the Liberty victory.

Scarbrough and Latta each went 3-for-4 in the contest and posted their second three-hit game of the season. Scarbrough also doubled and scored twice, while Latta had a double and drove in a run.

Liberty moves to 23-27 overall. The Flames snap a four-game losing skid and revenge a 7-6 loss to the Monarchs in Norfolk, Va., earlier this season. Old Dominion drops to 29-19.

The visiting Monarchs struck for three runs in the top of the third. With the bases loaded and one out, first baseman Kurt Sinnen cleared the bases with a double for a 3-0 visitor advantage.

Liberty countered in the bottom of the inning with its first run of the afternoon. Third baseman Eric Grabowski doubled and moved to third on Latta’s first hit of the game, a single. Grabowski then scored on a ground ball double play to make it, 3-1 Monarchs.

Just like the third, each team scored in the fifth. With runners on second and third and no outs, a RBI single by first baseman Kurt Sinnen plated the first Monarchs’ run of the inning. Center fielder Connor Myers fielder’s choice ground out pushed across the second run of the frame, giving Old Dominion a 5-1 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Scarbrough singled with one out and Latta singled with two outs to put Liberty runners on the corners. Scarbrough then scored on a wild pitch, trimming the Old Dominion lead to three runs at 5-2.

The Flames continued to cut into the Monarchs’ advantage in the sixth. Center fielder D.J. Artis, who had two hits in the contest, opened the inning with a triple to the bottom of the right-center field wall. Right fielder Will Shepherd followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Artis to move Liberty to within two at 5-3.

In the seventh, both teams plated a single run. Old Dominion shortstop Zach Rutherford led off the inning with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Myers. In the bottom of the inning, Scarbrough doubled with one out and scored on a two-out double by Latta.

After Flames’ right-hander Jon Letchworth retired the Monarchs in order in the top of the eighth, Liberty struck for three runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. Artis walked and scored on a hit-and-run double by Shepherd. Two batters later, shortstop Dalton Britt reached on an infield single to put runners at the corners.

Second baseman Andrew Kowalo followed with a run-scoring RBI single, tying the contest at 6-6. After an Old Dominion pitching change, a single by Scarbrough loaded the bases for Grabowski, who walked to force in Britt and give the Flames a 7-6 edge.

Herndon then earned his third save of the year, retiring the side in the ninth for the Liberty win.

Letchworth’s scoreless eighth earned the freshman his first collegiate victory, moving the right-hander to 1-0. He struck out a batter in the inning.

Old Dominion right-hander Morgan Maguire drops to 2-1 on the year. He allowed three runs on two hits, retiring one batter in the eighth. He walked two batters.

Liberty and Old Dominion combined to use 13 pitchers in the contest, with the Flames using seven and the Monarchs six.

Liberty out-hit Old Dominion, 12-6. The Flames committed an error.

Liberty will close its 2016 regular season home schedule with a three-game Big South series against the Radford Highlanders at Liberty Baseball Stadium. The series get underway with Senior Night, Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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