Late Rally Lifts Liberty Past Virginia, 5-4
April 10, 2001
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Virginia baseball team looked as though it was going to snap its seven game losing streak against the Liberty Flames. Virginia held a 4-1 lead heading into the eighth inning, only to watch Liberty score four unanswered runs in the final four innings of play to defeat UVa by the score of 5-4 in 11 innings at the UVa Baseball Field. The defeat was the Cavaliers eighth consecutive loss.
Virginia jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when Chris Sweet (1-5, run) and Dan Street (2-4, run) each scored a run. Sweet reached base after being hit by a pitch and eventually came around to score the first run of the game on a wild pitch by Liberty’s starting pitcher Josh Rupe, before Street scored after walking and scoring a run on an RBI-single to left field by teammate Mark Rueffert (2-3, RBI, run, double).
The Flames cut the Cavaliers lead in half at 2-1 in the top of the sixth inning when Marcus Maringola (2-5, two runs) tripled to left-center field before scoring on John Bona’s RBI ground out. Virginia increased its lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the inning when Rueffert walked and later scored on Eric Christensen’s RBI on a fielder’s choice.
The Cavaliers extended their lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning when David Stone (run) was hit by a pitch and scored two batters later on an RBI-single to right field by Hunter Wyant (2-5, RBI). But Stone’s run would be UVa’s last, as the Flames scored four unanswered runs to end the contest.
Trailing 4-1, Liberty closed the gap to 4-3 in the top of the eighth inning when Joel Patrick scored a run on Kelly Knouse’s bases loaded walk before Maringola scored a run on Joey Monahan’s RBI on a fielder’s choice. The Flames tied the game at 4-4 one inning later when Keith Butler (2-4, two runs) doubled down the right field line before scoring on Erich Cloninger’s RBI on a fielder’s choice.
With the game tied at 4-4, Liberty scored the game-winning run in the top of the 11th inning when Butler singled to center field, stole second base, and then scored a run on Steve Baker’s RBI-single to right field. The Flames’ second baseman Jeff Haines made a diving play on defense to turn the game-ending double play in the bottom of the inning to preserve Liberty’s 5-4 victory.
The Flames’ Alex Dooley (4-6) picked up his fourth win of the season after pitching the final two innings and holding the Cavaliers scoreless on three hits. UVa’s Mark Hurrie (0-1) was dealt the loss after going 3.0 innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with a strikeout. Starter Canon Hickman threw 7.1 innings and recorded a game-high seven strikeouts in a no decision.
With the loss, Virginia falls to 17-18 overall, while the victory improves Liberty’s record to 16-15 on the season. The loss marks the first time this season UVa has been below .500.
The Cavaliers will return to home action on Wednesday, April 11th when UVa host the Virginia Tech Hokies. The game is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. and will be played at the UVa Baseball Field. Liberty will begin a three-game series with the Radford Highlanders on April 13-14 in Radford, Va. at the Dedmon Center Park.
– UVa –