CHARLESTON, SC - Dalton Sype's three-run triple in the top of the ninth sparked a seven-run outburst as Liberty University rallied from a 9-4 deficit to defeat The Citadel Sunday afternoon at Riley Park in The Citadel Memorial Challenge. The Bulldogs fall to 1-2 on the season and host Delaware in a four-game series beginning Thursday night at 6 p.m.
With the Bulldogs up 9-4 entering the final frame, Liberty used five hits and three hit-batsmen to pushed across seven runs and upend The Citadel. Zack Haley led off with a double to left off reliever TJ Clarkson and with one out, Andy Smith lined a RBI single to left, cutting the Bulldogs' lead to 9-5. Clarkson would hit the next two Liberty batters with picthes to load the bases for Bryan Aanderud. Aandderud lifted a 1-0 pitch to deep right for a sacrifice fly and cut the Liberty deficit to three runs with two outs.
Clarkson re-loaded the bases for Liberty when he hit Ryan Cordell with a 1-2 pitch and Alex Close's RBI single to the gap between short and third made the score 9-7, bringing on freshman Zach Sherrill in relief. Sype lined Sherrill's 0-1 offering down the left-field line to clear the bases and give Liberty a 10-9 lead. Haley's RBI single plated Sype and completed the Flames' comeback.
The team traded runs in the first two innings as Liberty jumped on the board in the first with a sacrifice fly by Tyler Cox and The Citadel answered with a solo home run to left by senior Justin Mackert to lead off the second frame.
Liberty pulled ahead 2-1 in the fourth on a RBI single by Cordell before the Bulldogs exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fifth for a 7-2 lead. With one out, three straight singles by Bo Thompson, Calvin Orth and Bailey Rush loaded the bases. Freshman Mason Davis drilled a RBI single through the left side and sophomore Joe Jackson lined a two-run single to center to make the score 4-2 and chase Liberty starter Ian Parmley from the mound. After senior Nick Orvin struck out, Mackert knocked a RBI single to center and sophomore Drew DeKerlegand was hit by a 3-2 pitch from reliever Patrick Bankemper to load the bases for fellow soph Tyler Griffin. Griffin roped a 1-0 pitch up the middle to plate a pair of runs for a 7-2 Bulldog lead after five complete.
The Flames cut into the lead with a two-run homer by Trey Wimmer in the sixth, but The Citadel recouped the runs in the seventh on a RBI single by Hughston Armstrong and a sacrifice fly by Rush. The teams did not mount any offense in the eighth before Liberty's offensive barrage in the final stanza.
Clarkson took the loss for the Bulldogs, allowing six runs on four hits in 2-1/3 innings with three hit-batsmen. Logan Cribb started the game for The Citadel, scattering six hits over five innings and allowing two runs. Mackert finished the game with three hits and two RBI to lead the Bulldogs at the plate.