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Flames Snap Skid by Downing Conference-leading Eagles, 5-4
With the victory, Liberty moves to 10-6 in the Big South Conference and 29-22 overall on the season. The Flames currently sit in third place in the league's standings, either by themselves or in a tie with High Point, depending on the outcome of the Panthers game against Charleston Southern later this evening.
Winthrop drops to 14-2 in conference play and 30-20 on the year. A win by Coastal Carolina tonight at UNC Asheville will either tie the Eagles with the Chanticleers for first place in the conference standings, or a loss by the Chanticleers would allow Winthrop to remain atop the league standings.
After the Eagles had knotted the game in the top of the eighth, 4-4, Liberty answered back in the bottom of the frame for the winning run. Garrett Young (Jr., CF, Fountain Valley, Calif.) singled and Tim Nanry (Sr., DH, Rochester, N.Y.) walked to open the home half of the inning. Young moved to third on a fly out to right field, placing Liberty runners at the corners with one out. Shawn Teufel (So., 1B, Tequesta, Fla.), who had entered the contest in the seventh inning, then laid down a squeeze bunt, which was scooped up cleanly by the Eagle third baseman and shoveled to the catcher to prevent Young from scoring.
However, Nanry, who had moved to second on the bunt, continued on his way to third base during the play at the plate to once again put Flames on the corners. A balk by reliever Ryan Mullins, then allowed Nanry to score, breaking the tie and giving Liberty a 5-4 lead.
Reliever Tim John (Sr., RHP, Linwood, N.J.), who had pitched out of a second and third jam with one out in the seventh inning, retired all three Eagle batters in the ninth for the victory, moving his record to 3-2 on the year. The senior right-hander, one of three Liberty pitchers on the afternoon, allowed one run on two hits with 2 2/3 innings of relief. Eagle starter Alex Wilson evens his mark at 4-4 on the year, giving up five runs, three earned, on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings.
Both teams took advantage of defensive miscues to get on the score board in the first inning. Leadoff man Chris Carrara opened the game by reaching on a fielding error by the Liberty third baseman. The Eagles' second baseman moved to second and third on ground outs, and plated the contest's first run on a two-out RBI single to right field by left fielder Billy Froehlich.
The Flames answered back with a run in the bottom of the inning. Kenneth Negron (So., 2B, Kingwood, Texas) singled to right field to begin the frame and advanced to third on a throwing error by the Winthrop catcher on a pick off attempt. A batter later, the Liberty second baseman tied the game at 1-1 by scoring on a wild pitch.
In the second inning, the Flames took their first lead of the afternoon. With one out and a man on first, Giammaresi (R-Jr., 3B, Coral Springs, Fla.) lined his first home run of the season over the right field wall, to put Liberty up, 3-1.
In the fifth, the Eagles tied the game for the second time. With one out, John Murrian and Rand Baughman singled. Carrara followed with a RBI single to plate Murrian and cut the Flames' advantage to 3-2. After a fly out, Tommy Lentz tied the contest with a two-out RBI single to score Baughman.
Liberty went back on top in the sixth. Phil John (Jr., RF, Linwood, N.J.) doubled and moved to third on a throwing error by the Winthrop left fielder. Next batter, Cody Brown (R-So., 1B, Boca Raton, Fla.) cashed in the runner with a sacrifice fly for a 5-4 edge.
Winthrop knotted the game in the top of the eighth with a two-out run, which was plated when Eddie Tisdale single and scored on a double by Murrian.
Negron went 3-for-3 with a run scored to pace the Liberty hitters on the afternoon. He was the only Flames with two or more hits in the game. Carrara and Murrian had two hits apiece for the Eagles.
The Eagles and Flames will meet again tomorrow afternoon in the middle game of the three-game series at Worthington Stadium. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m.