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Maryland baseball: Liberty burns Terps 7-6

Liberty made all of the defensive plays, and then some. It proved the difference in a tightly payed game.

Liberty invites opposing team's players to participate in a post-game prayer
Liberty invites opposing team's players to participate in a post-game prayer

Today's game was the final home contest for the Terps in 2015. Earlier this year the Terps traveled to Lynchburg and defeated the Liberty Flames 6-4.

Today's starting pitchers were LHP Matt Pennington (2-1, 2.28 era) for Liberty vs. Taylor Bloom (1-1, 4.22 era) for the Terps.

Liberty goes yard for a 3-0 lead

Clay Keranen stroked a lead-off single in the third inning. Dalton Britt drilled a hanging breaking ball over the right-center wall to put the Flames up. Alex Close followed that by golfing a pitch just over the top the wall to make it 3-0 Flames.

The Terps got one run back in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Tim Lewis lined a ball over the center fielder's grasp for a triple. Kengo Kawahara was HBP. LaMonte Wade hit into a force out, scoring Lewis. Kevin Smith lined a single, and Brandon Lowe was HBP to load the bases. But Kevin Martir grounded out to end the inning.

Ryan Selmer took the mound for the Terrapins in the top of the fourth.

Wade homers, but Liberty scratches out two runs

Liberty got an unearned run in the fifth. Britt hit a nubber that Cuas fielded, but the third baseman's throw sailed high. Liberty had a runner in scoring position. Close hit a bouncer through the middle that Smith reached, but the ball went off his glove into center field: Britt came around to score. In the bottom of the inning, LaMonte Wade hit a towering shot down the line that stayed fair for a home run.

Robert Galligan came in to pitch in the sixth inning and retired the side in order. In the Liberty seventh, an infield hit and then a single to center brought in Mike Rescigno to pitch. A wild pitch sent both runners up a base, so Close was intentionally walked. Sankey hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-2 in Liberty's favor.

Terps score two runs, Liberty answers

Lewis walked, but was forced out when Britt made a great diving play on Kawahara's grounder. It was a play that saved one, maybe two runs for Liberty as things turned out. LaMonte Wade walked. Smith launched a shot off the wall in deep center, but a miscommunication between runners allowed only Kawahara to score: Wade was cut down at the plate. Lowe tripled to make the score 5-4. Martir flied out to end the inning.

Ruse pitched the eighth for Maryland. With one out Andrew Yacyk singled. On a hit and run, Nick Salisbury hit a liner in the spot that Lowe had to vacate. The ball kept going and Yacyk was able to score, even though Salisbury had to settle for a single. Keranen walked.Alex Robinson came in to pitch. He walked Perritt. Britt lined out to Papio, with Salisbury scoring on the sac fly. Going into the bottom of the eighth the Terps trailed 7-4. Except for an infield single by Jamal Wade, the Terps went quietly.

Liberty's leather is the difference

The Flames didn't score in the top of the ninth, so Maryland had one more at bat to tie or win the game. The Terps needed base runners, and Liberty obliged by hitting Kawahara. LaMonte Wade singled through the left hand side to bring the tying run to the plate. Smith hit a swinging bunt that went for an infield hit. The bases were loaded with no one out. Lowe ht a rope that Shepherd made a nice running catch on, with Kawahara scoring. Martir hit a sharp grounder that Slaisbury laid out for, just throwing out the Terrapin. The score was 7-6 with Smith on second base. Jose Cuas struck out and the Terps came up one run short.

Taylor Bloom took the loss to go to 1-2, and the Terrapins stood at 35-18 overall.