Yacyk’s walk-off double propels Liberty to 5-4 win over Maryland

libertyFirst baseman Andrew Yacyk’s third hit of the night, a double, gave the Liberty Flames a 5-4 walk-off win over the Maryland Terrapins Tuesday night at the Liberty Baseball Stadium.

With the score tied at 4-4, left fielder D.J. Artis walked to lead off the bottom of the ninth and moved to second on a single to center field by right fielder Will Shepherd. Yacyk, a native of Hagerstown, Md., fought off several 0-2 pitches, before ripping a double into the left-center field gap, scoring Artis for the 5-4 victory.

Yacyk collected three hits, two doubles, and three RBI in the contest. In two games against Maryland this season, the “Old Line State” native went 8-for-11 with six RBI.

Artis scored three times, reaching base on two hits and a walk. He also had a RBI and a stolen base.

Liberty moves to 17-14, snapping a four-game losing skid. Maryland drops to 14-15. The two teams split the season series, each winning on its home field.

Maryland took a 1-0 advantage in the first inning. Right fielder Madison Nickens and second baseman Nick Dunn each walked to open the contest. After moving into scoring position on a double steal, Nickens gave the Terps an early edge by scoring on a ground out by left fielder Matt Costes.

Liberty got on the scoreboard in the third. With one out, catcher Payton Scarbrough ended up on second base, when Maryland right fielder Nickens dropped a fly ball. Two batters later, Artis dropped a two-out single into left-center field, plating Scarbrough and tying the contest at 1-1. After moving to second on a single by Shepherd, Yacyk put the Flames in front, 2-1, with a run-scoring single.

The Flames added to their advantage with single runs in the fifth and the sixth innings. In the fifth, Artis was hit with two outs and stole second on a failed pickoff attempt. After Shepherd walked, Yacyk followed with a double off the left field fence for a 3-1 lead.

In the sixth, Liberty picked up another two-out run. Dalton Britt tripled off the bottom of the left field wall and scored on an infield single by Scarbrough, extending the Flames’ advantage to 4-1.

Maryland knotted the contest with three runs in the eighth. After two scoreless innings of relief, Liberty pitcher Zander Clouse walked Nickens to lead off the inning. Parker Bean then came on and struck out the next two batters. Costes kept the inning alive with an infield single and first baseman Kevin Biondic walked, loading the bases. A wild pitch allowed Nickens to score and shortstop Kevin Smith followed with a two-run double to tie the game at 4-4.

Two batters later, Shane Quarterley was summoned from the Liberty bullpen. Pinch hitter Jamal Wade hit a ground ball into the hole between the shortstop and third which looked like it was going to get through to the outfield, but Britt made a diving stop and threw out Wade to end the inning and keep Maryland for taking the lead.

In the eighth, Liberty loaded the bases with two outs before Terrapin reliever Robert Galligan came on to get center fielder Jack Morris to fly out, ending the inning and the scoring threat.

Quarterley, the fourth Flame to pitch in the contest, moves to 5-0 on the season. The right-hander pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out one.

Galligan falls to 0-3. Galligan pitched 1/3 of an inning and walked Artis to open the ninth. The fourth of five Terrapin pitchers, he allowed one run and walked a batter.

Liberty collected 10 hits. Shepherd and Britt joined Artis with two hits apiece in the contest. Maryland had four.

Liberty next steps back into Big South play with a three-game series against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Liberty Baseball Stadium, this weekend. The series gets underway, Friday with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.

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