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Shepherd's 2-Run Double Gives Liberty 4-3 Win over Presbyterian
With no one on and down to their last out, the Liberty Flames stormed back to defeat the Presbyterian Blue Hose, 4-3, on a two-run double by right fielder Will Shepherd, Thursday evening at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Trailing 3-2 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Liberty second baseman Andrew Kowalo reached on a fielding error by Presbyterian shortstop Cletis Avery to spark the comeback. Designated hitter Eric Grabowski, who had two hits in the contest for the Flames, then shot a single through the right side of the infield to move pinch runner Jonathan Embry to third base. Shepherd followed by lining a 1-2 pitch inside the first base line to plate both runners for the 4-3 victory.
Liberty takes the first game of the three-game conference series to move to 15-7 in the Big South and 31-20 overall. Presbyterian falls to 14-8 in conference and 28-26 overall.
The host Flames jumped out to a 1-0 edge in the first. Third baseman Trey McDyre drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on the first of two singles for first baseman Sammy Taormina in the game. Kowalo followed with a two-out double down the right field line to give Liberty an early advantage.
Presbyterian evened the score at 1-1 in the third. Center fielder Tyler Weyenberg doubled to left field to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. Left fielder Brett Auckland followed with a run-producing ground out to first to knot the game.
Taking advantage of a Blue Hose miscue, Liberty plated a run in the sixth to take another one-run lead. Center fielder D.J. Artis opened the bottom of the inning with an opposite field single. With McDyre at the plate, Artis stole second and moved to third on an errant throw by PC catcher T.J. Richardson. McDyre then lifted a sacrifice fly to score Artis for a 2-1 advantage.
Blue Hose right fielder Nick Guimbarda quickly erased the Flames' edge in the top of the seventh. Guimbarda led off the inning with his third home run of the season to even the score at 2-2.
With two outs in the top of the ninth, designated hitter Nick Wise gave Presbyterian the lead. Wise ripped his fourth home of the year over the right field wall for a 3-2 advantage.
PC reliever Will Smith falls to 3-1. The right-hander came in to pitch the ninth for Blue Hose starter Brian Kehner. Smith allowed the two unearned runs on two hits.
Each team had seven hits in the contest. The Blue Hose made three errors.
Up Next: Liberty and Presbyterian will square off again at Liberty Baseball Stadium, tomorrow evening. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m.