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Winthrop Edges Liberty in Game 1, 3-2
Despite 11 Liberty hits, the Winthrop Eagles were able to edge the Flames, 3-2, in game one of a Big South doubleheader, Saturday at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Liberty drops to 6-7 in Big South play and 20-19 overall. Winthrop moves to 3-10 in the conference and 15-25 overall.
The Flames jumped out to a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the second. Designated hitter Danny Grauer opened the inning by doubling off the left-center field wall and advanced to third on a single by center fielder Ryan Cordell. Left fielder Justin Sizemore followed by legging out an infield single to score Grauer with the contest's first run. However, Eagles pitcher Matt Pierpont was able to contain the damage by retiring the next three Flames.
Winthrop went in front with two runs in the top of the third. With one out, second baseman Leighton Daniels dropped a single into right-center field and moved to second on a two-out single by left fielder Cody Dolan. After a wild pitch allowed both runners to move into scoring position at second and third base, right fielder Matt Lobacz singled to center field, plating both runners and giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead.
In the fifth, Winthrop added to its advantage. Dolan led off the inning with a double and moved to third base on a single by Lobacz. First baseman Clay Altman then singled to score Dolan and extended the Eagles' edge to 3-1.
Liberty cut into the visitors' advantage in the sixth. Cordell began the frame with a single and advanced to second on a ground out by Sizemore. Two batters later, Cordell advanced to third base on a fielder's choice grounder by shortstop Dalton Britt, and then scored on a single by third baseman Jake Kimble to trim the Winthrop advantage to what proved to be the final score.
Pierpont stranded Liberty runners at second base in both the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, second baseman Bryan Aanderud opened the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Trey Wimmer, only to be left there. In the eighth, Britt doubled with two outs, but Pierpont retired the next batters to end the inning.
Liberty starter Carson Herndon dropped to 3-5 on the season. The right-hander gave up three runs on 10 hits over the first four innings of the contest. He struck out six batters and walked one.
Josh Richardson pitched the final five innings for the Flames. He gave up only two hits and did not allow a run over the span. He struck out six.
Pierpont went the distance for the second time this season, running his record to 3-4. He allowed two runs on 11 hits over nine innings. He struck out seven batters and walked one.
Liberty recorded 11 hits during the contest. Aanderud, Cordell and Grauer each had two hits apiece. Winthrop collected 12 hits. Altman had four hits in the contest for the Eagles.
Each team left 10 men on base.