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Three-Run Rally Propels Liberty Past High Point in Game 1
With two out in the top of the ninth, the Liberty Flames struck for three runs to erase a two-run deficit, en route to a 5-4 victory over the High Point Panthers, Friday in the first game of a Big South doubleheader at Coy O. Willard Stadium.
Trailing 4-2 and down to its last out, Liberty rallied for three runs. With shortstop Dalton Britt and left fielder Nick Lacik on first and second due to walks, second baseman Bryan Aanderud singled through the right side of the Panther infield to plate Britt.
Lacik then scored the tying run, when right fielder Ryan Retz's throw got away from third baseman Mike Miedzianowksi. Center fielder Ryan Cordell followed by lining an opposite-field double to bring Aanderud home for a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, High Point loaded the bases with two outs against Flames reliever Ashton Perritt. Panther shortstop Willie Medina then lined a Perritt pitch to left field, which left fielder Lacik drove out and made a diving catch to rob Medina of a hit and seal the Liberty win.
The Flames overcame five errors on the day to move to 4-0 in Big South play and 15-7 overall. The Panthers drop to 0-4 in conference action and 10-12 overall.
Liberty mounted a scoring threat with two outs in the contest's opening inning. Cordell singled and catcher Trey Wimmer walked. Right fielder Nick Paxton followed by lining a single off High Point pitcher Jacob Newberry to load the bases. However, Newberry came back and got designated hitter Danny Grauer to ground out to end the frame.
The visiting Flames struck for the first run of the contest in the top of the third. With one out, Aanderud was hit by a pitch and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Wimmer ripped a two-out single into left field to bring around Aanderud for a 1-0 edge.
In the bottom of the inning, High Point moved third baseman Adam Barry into scoring position at second with two outs. Left fielder Sean Wilson then singled to right field, but Paxton ended the frame by throwing Barry out trying to score to keep the host Panthers off the scoreboard.
Liberty starter Carson Herndon stranded two runners in scoring position in the fourth. With runners on second and third with one out, the Flames right-hander struck out the next two batters, designated hitter Scott Glover and center fielder Cody Manzella, ending the threat.
High Point plated two runs in the sixth to take the lead. Retz walked to open the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Glover. Pinch hitter Brett Gemmell followed with a single past a drawn in infield to score Retz to tie the game at 1-1. Two batters later, second baseman Kyle Brandenburg slipped a two-out single to left field to push across the run and give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
The Flames answered in the top of the seventh. Britt led off the inning with a double into the left-center field gap and moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Dalton Sype. Britt then knotted the game at 2-2 by scoring on a double play grounder by Lacik.
The fifth Liberty error of the game led to two Panther runs in the eighth. With two outs, Brandenberg singled. Shortstop Willie Medina then reached on a throwing error by Flames third baseman Sype, putting two High Point runners in scoring position. Wilson followed by dropping single into left field for two runs for a 4-2 lead.
Liberty's five errors during the game contributed to three unearned runs for the High Point.
Neither starting pitcher, Herndon or Newberry, figured in the decision. Herndon allowed two runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out four batters and walked one. Newberry gave up two runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five batters and issued one free pass.
Josh Richardson evens his record to 1-1 for the Flames. The right-hander gave up two runs on five hits during 2 2/3 innings of work where he struck out one batter. Perritt recorded his third save for Liberty, giving up two hits in the ninth.
High Point reliever Jaime Schulz falls to 0-3. He allowed three runs on three hits over 2 1/3 innings. He struck out three batters and walked two.
Liberty collected nine hits. The middle of the Flames' order – Aanderud, Cordell, Wimmer and Paxton – each had two hits in the contest. High Point had 13 hits. Angelis, Brandenburg, Retz and Wilson had two hits apiece.