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No. 1 Seed Liberty Falls to No. 4 Seed High Point
The No. 4 seed High Point Panthers defeated the No. 1 seed Liberty Flames, 9-0, handing the Flames their first loss of the double-elimination tournament, Friday evening, in Game 8 of the Big South Baseball Championship.
The Panthers jumped out to a 5-0 lead behind five runs in the third inning and freshman right-hander Cas Silber limited the Flames to three hits in pitching the first shutout of his career.
Liberty drops to 40-15 on the year. The Flames will play the No. 5 seed Radford Highlanders, tomorrow in Game 10 of the Big South Baseball Championship. The elimination game is scheduled to begin 45 minutes after Game 9 between No. 6 seed Coastal Carolina and No. 3 Campbell, which is slated to start at 3 p.m.
High Point moves to 32-21 on the year and advance to Game 11 on Saturday against the winner of Game 9 on Friday.
High Point, the visitors on the scoreboard, batted around in the top of the third inning, striking for five runs with two out. Second baseman Chris Clare led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by right fielder Dane McDermott. After left fielder Brady Williamson grounded out and first baseman Spencer Angelis was intentionally walked, catcher Josh Spano lined a two-out single into left to score Clare for a 1-0 edge.
Center fielder Josh Greene then beat out an infield single to plate a run and third baseman Kyle Brandberg sent an RBI single back through the middle to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead. Designated hitter Cody Manzella followed with a run-producing infield single for a 4-0 advantage. A double steal by High Point brought home the final run of the frame for a 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Liberty loaded the bases with two outs. But the Flames came away empty, as Silber retired the next batter to end the threat.
High Point extended its advantage with three runs in the fifth. With runners on the corners and no outs, Manzella doubled in the first run of the inning. After the first out of frame was recorded, a wild pitch allowed a run to score for a 7-0 lead. Clare followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Panthers an 8-0 advantage.
High Point added a run in the eighth for the final score of 9-0.
Liberty starting pitcher Blake Fulghum falls to 4-3 on the season. The first of six Flames to pitch in the contest, left-hander gave up five runs on seven hits over 2 2/3 innings. He struck out one and walked one.
Sibler moves to 5-0 on the year. The right-hander went the distance, striking out 12 and walked one.
High Point had 13 hits in the contest. Manzella had three hits to lead the Panthers.