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Big Fifth Inning Pushes High Point Past Liberty

March 23, 2013
|  High Point, N.C.
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Trey Wimmer had two hits and a RBI, Saturday.

The High Point Panthers erased a 3-1 Liberty advantage with an eight-run fifth inning, en route to a 9-3 win over the Flames, Saturday evening in a Big South Conference game at Coy O. Willard Stadium.

With back-to-back setbacks, Liberty drops to 4-2 in Big South play and 15-9 overall.  High Point improves to 2-4 in conference games and 12-12 overall.       

Liberty struck for two runs in the top of the second inning.  Catcher Trey Wimmer led off the frame with a single to left field and ended up on second when the hit got by High Point left fielder Sean Wilson.  Two batters later, designated hitter Danny Grauer walked. Both runners then moved into scoring position on a groundout by third baseman Sammy Taormina. First baseman Alex Close followed by ripping a two-out single back through the middle of the diamond to plate both runners for a 2-0 advantage.

The Flames upped their edge with another two-out run in the third.  Left fielder Nick Lacik reached on a fielding error by Panther second baseman Kyle Bradenburg to open the inning and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Three batters later, Wimmer dropped a single into right-center field to bring home Lacik for a 3-0 lead.

High Point got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth.  Catcher Josh Spano began the inning with an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error by the Flames' Taormina.  After moving to third on a flyout by first baseman Spencer Angelis, Spano scored on a wild pitch to make it, 3-1 Liberty.

The host Panthers sent 13 men to the plate in the fifth, scoring eight runs on eight hits to take an advantage. Center fielder Sly Edwards led off the inning with an infield single and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Third baseman Aaron Barry followed with a double off the right field wall to plate Edwards with the first run of the uprising.  After Bradenburg reached on a bunt single, shortstop Willie Medina bunted both runners into scoring position and Spano walked to load the bases. Angelis followed with a two-run double to give High Point a 4-3 lead.

After a pitching change for the Flames, right fielder Ryan Retz singled home two more runs to extend the Panthers' newfound advantage to 6-3. The next batter, Devin Bujnovsky, then singled home another run for a 7-3 lead. Barry, who doubled in the first run of the inning, capped the frame with a two-run single for a 9-3 advantage.

Liberty opened the seventh by moving the first two batters of the inning into scoring position, only to come away empty.  Wimmer was hit by a pitch to begin the frame and moved to third on an opposite-field double into the left field corner by right fielder Nick Paxton. However, High Point reliever John Maloney retired the next three Flames, stranding both runners and keeping the visitors from closing the gap on the scoreboard.

Liberty starter Trey Lambert takes his first loss of the season to fall to 4-1 on the year.  It is also the first start by the junior that the Flames have lost during his career. Liberty had won each of his seven prior starts.  Lambert gave up six runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings.  He struck out two and walked two batters.

High Point starter Jared Avidon moves to 3-2 on the year.  The senior allowed three runs on three hits over five innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked three batters.

Mahoney records his second save of the year with four scoreless innings of work.  He gave up two hits and struck out four batters.

Liberty was held to five hits in the contest, with Wimmer collecting two.  High Point had 12 hits, as Barry recorded three hits for the Panthers.

The Flames next travel to Harrisonburg, Va., on Tuesday for a non-conference contest against the James Madison Dukes.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.