By Jacob Weinberger
With the game tied at four and two runners aboard in the bottom of the ninth inning, first baseman Andrew Yacyk drove a 1-2 fastball from RHP Mike Rescigno into the left-centerfield gap to give the Liberty Flames (17-14) a walk-off win over the Maryland Terrapins (14-15).
The Terps offense struggled mightily on offense through the first seven innings and squandered an opportunity to put a crooked number on the board early.
In the first inning, the Terps scored the first run of the game on two walks, a stolen base and a groundout before loading the bases, but Anthony Papio fouled out behind the plate to strand all three.
After the shaky first inning, Flames starter Carson Herndon settled in. He put up zeros for the next four innings, allowing just two hits and facing only one batter above the minimum. He received a no-decision.
The Flames took the lead in the third inning. With one out, Payton Scarbrough hit a shallow pop-up to right field. Battling the Sun, Madison Nickens was unable to make the grab, missing making the grab on the pop-up by inches. Three straight singles later, and the Flames led 2-1.
The club added one run in both the fifth and sixth innings on a string of base hits.
LHP Tayler Stiles, facing Liberty for the second time in two weeks, fared better the second time around. The junior pitched six innings, allowed six hits, four runs, two earned runs, and one walk. He struck out two batters and received a no-decision.
Entering the eighth frame, the Terps trailed the Flames 4-1 and had accumulated a mere two hits. But two walks and a single had the Terps in business with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning. With shortstop Kevin Smith batting, a wild pitch plated right fielder Madison Nickens from third base, trimming the deficit to 4-2.
In the same at-bat, Smith lined the 2-1 fastball from RHP Parker Bean into the right-centerfield gap, scoring Kevin Biondic and Marty Costes to knot the score at four.
Two batters later, Flames shortstop Dalton Britt made an diving defensive play on Jamal Wade’s grounder to save a run and end the inning.
The Flames pushed for the go-ahead run in the bottom half of the eighth inning, but, with runners on first and second base, Terps LHP Rob Galligan induced a fly-out to end the inning.
The Terps bats were set down in order in the top of the ninth inning.
Rescigno relieved Galligan in the bottom of the ninth inning following a four-pitch leadoff walk. The next batter singled to center field, advancing the potential winning run to second base. Yacyk, who entered the game leading the Flames in home runs and RBIs, doubled into the alley, delivering the decisive blow with two strikes to send the Terps packing.
Yacyk finished the home-and-home series 8-11 with six RBIs.
The two teams split the season series.
The Terps are back home tomorrow 4 p.m. against James Madison University at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium in College Park, Maryland.