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Three-Run Seventh Lifts No. 2 Seed Winthrop over No. 3 Seed Liberty
The No. 2 seed Winthrop Eagles scored three times in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie and held on to defeat the No. 3 seed Liberty Flames, 4-1, in Game 6 of the Big South Baseball Championship at the Winthrop Ballpark, Thursday night.
With the loss, Liberty falls to 34-24 and will now play an elimination game tomorrow morning against No. 6 seed UNC Asheville at 11 a.m. Winthrop improves to 33-25and will square off with #1 seed Coastal Carolina at 3 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.
Winthrop jumped on the scoreboard with back-to-back two-out hits for a first inning run. Tommy Lentz lined a single to right and scored on a RBI double to the gap in left for a 1-0 Eagle advantage.
Both teams made fine defensive plays as the contest settled into a pitcher's duel. In the Liberty half of the fourth, left fielder Billy Froehlich made a spectacular running catch and doubled off a runner at second base to end a possible Flames' scoring threat. In the bottom of the frame, Liberty right fielder Phil John (Sr., RF, Linwood, N.J. ) made a diving catch on a sinking liner off the bat of Bryn Henderson to deny the Eagle third baseman a hit.
In the sixth, the Flames tied the contest at 1-1. Phil John opened the inning with a double to left and advanced to third on an error by the left fielder. Garrett Young (Jr., CF, Fountain Valley, Calif. ) followed by lining a single up the middle to plate John. Liberty would go onto load the bases in the frame, but Winthrop reliever Jonathan Settle was able to come on and end the threat without further damage.
The Eagles went back on top with three runs in the bottom half of the seventh. Henderson reached on a fielding error by the second baseman to begin the frame and after an out, moved to third on a hit-and-run single by Kevin Nolan. After a pitching change, Mike Honce reached on a bunt to load the bases. The next two Winthrop batters, John Murrian and Chris Carrara, walked forcing home two runs for a 3-1 Eagle advantage. Phil Carey followed with a RBI single to make it, 4-1, capping off the three-run frame.
Liberty starter David Stokes (Jr., RHP, Locust Grove, Okla. ) had a strong outing in a losing effort for the Flames. The right-hander gave up three runs, two earned, on six hits over 6 1/3 innings to fall to 8-6 on the year. Reliever Tim John (Sr., RHP, Linwood, N.J. ) allowed one run on two hits over the final 1 1/3 frames. Winthrop reliever Settle picked up the win to move to 4-3 on the season. He allowed one hit and no runs over three innings.
Young and Kenneth Negron (So., 2B, Kingwood, Texas ) had two hits apiece for the Flames. Nolan had two hits for the Eagles.