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Clowers' Relief Effort Keys Liberty's 4-1 Win Over High Point
Liberty reliever Shawn Clowers shut down visiting High Point over the final 4 2/3 innings, keying the Flames' 4-1 victory over the Panthers, Sunday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the fifth and Liberty leading 2-1, Clowers entered the contest and promptly struck out the next two Panther batters on his way to retiring the first 12 batters he faced. Clowers moves to 3-0 on the year after allowing just two hits, both in the ninth inning. He struck out six and did not walk a batter. The left-hander has yet to allow a runner to score in 20 1/3 innings this season.
With the win, Liberty sweeps its three-game series with High Point, moving to 5-1 in Big South Conference play and 18-7 overall. The Flames have won four straight games and 12 out of their last 13. High Point falls to 2-4 in conference games and 12-11 overall.
Liberty struck for two runs in the first inning. With one out, right fielder Will Shepherd beat out an infield single and advanced to third base on a double by second baseman Ryan Seiz. Designated hitter Becker Sankey followed with a sacrifice fly, giving the Flames a 1-0 edge. After walking, shortstop Dalton Britt stole second and when High Point catcher Spencer Angelis threw to second in an attempt to get the base runner, Seiz came home to score for a 2-0 advantage.
High Point plated its lone run of the game in the third, off of Liberty starting pitcher Parker Bean. Second baseman Chris Clare and center fielder Dane McDermott singled to lead off the inning. Both runners then moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Tony Fortier-Bensen. Angelis ground out to bring home Clare, cutting the Liberty lead to 2-1.
After Clowers worked out of the bases loaded jam in the top of the fifth, the Flames extended their lead with a run in the bottom of the inning. Left fielder Nick Lacik singled and moved to third on a hit-and-run single by Shepherd to open the inning. Two batters later, Sankey lined a two-out single through the left side of the infield, plating Lacik for a 3-1 advantage.
Liberty added an insurance run in the seventh. Lacik led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Shepherd. Seiz was then intentionally walked and Sankey hit by a pitch to load the bases. Britt followed with a run-scoring groundout for a 4-1 lead.
In the ninth, High Point rallied and brought the tying run to the plate. Third baseman Kyle Bradenburg reached on a one-out infield single, the first hit off Clowers, and moved to second on a single by Clare. After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, Clowers struck out Fortier-Bensen to close out the 4-1 Liberty win.
High Point starting pitcher Andre Scrubb falls to 1-4 on the season. The first of five Panthers to pitch in the contest, Scrubb gave up three runs on six hits over five innings. He struck out five and walked four batters.
Liberty collected eight hits. Lacik and Shepherd each had two hits for the Flames. High Point had 11 hits, with four Panthers having two hits apiece.
Liberty steps out of conference play by hosting the Virginia Tech Hokies, Tuesday at Liberty Baseball Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.