Liberty Nips Army In Extra Innings

Michael Sands

Michael Sands

March 3, 2013

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LYNCHBURG, Va. - Alex Close drove in the game-winning run in the 11th inning as Liberty walked off with a 4-3 victory against Army in the final game of the Liberty Invitational Tournament Sunday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

Justin Sizemore, Trey Wimmer and Close hit consecutive singles to open the 11th inning, with Close driving home pinch-runner Jake Kimble with a base hit to left field. Wimmer, Close, Sizemore and Ryan Cordell each recorded two hits to help the Flames (9-2) to their ninth consecutive victory.

Harold Earls, Jacob Page and Michael Sands posted two hits apiece to lead Army (0-7). Sands' RBI single in the top of the ninth inning tied the score at 3-3 and sent the game to extra innings.

After both teams went quietly in the 10th inning, the Black Knights loaded the bases in the top of the 11th. Ashton Perritt was able to strike out Andrew Johnson to escape the jam, however, setting the stage for Close's heroics in the bottom of the frame.

Perritt (1-0) picked up the victory for Liberty, pitching two scoreless innings of relief. Gunnar Carroll (0-2) tossed five solid innings, but was saddled with the loss after allowing two runs on eight hits over five-plus frames. Army starter Brock Davidson looked strong in his first career start, yielding two runs on four hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked two.

Following two scoreless innings, Liberty took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on Cordell's RBI single. Dalton Sype walked leading off the frame, advanced to second base when Nick Paxton was hit by a pitch and scored when Cordell grounded a single up the middle.

Another RBI single by Cordell extended the Flames' advantage to 2-0 in the fifth inning. Sype singled to begin the uprising, moved to second base on Nick Lacik's sacrifice bunt and later scored on Cordell's base hit.

Army rallied in the top of the sixth inning, scoring twice with two outs to knot the score at 2-2. Justin Reece opened the frame with a base hit and Jon Crucitti walked to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Daniel Cortes then struck out and Alex Jensen lined out, but Patrick Mescher delivered an RBI single through the right side of the infield to make it 2-1. Army then attempted a double-steal and Crucitti scampered home with the game-tying run before Mescher was tagged out to end the inning.

Liberty moved ahead in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring one run to establish a 3-2 lead. Lacik singled with one out, moved all the way to third base on Paxton's base hit and scored when Paxton got picked off at first.

The Black Knights rallied a second time, tying the score at 3-3 in the top of the ninth on Sands' two-out RBI single. Jensen was hit by a pitch leading off the inning, moved to third base on Page's base hit and scored when Sands singled.

Army will return to action on Saturday, March 9, when the Black Knights open their spring break trip to Florida with a doubleheader against Yale in Tampa. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m.

Game Notes: Army falls to 1-6 all-time versus Liberty ... the Black Knights pounded out a season-high nine hits in the contest ... Michael Sands matched his career high with two hits ... Army falls to 0-2 in extra innings this season ... Brock Davidson made his first career start on the mound for Army ... Justin Reece drew his first career start at second base for the Black Knights.

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