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Seven-Run 10th Inning Lifts Liberty to Sweep
Liberty moves to 12-3 in Big South play, having won nine-straight conference games, and 29-11 overall. The win was also the eighth consecutive road victory for the Flames and their first extra-inning triumph this season. Presbyterian drops to 3-12 in conference action and 11-28 overall.
Liberty jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Shortstop Matt Williams reached on an error by shortstop Gabe Grammer and designated hitter Justin Richardson singled to lead off the frame. Thompson followed with his sixth home run of the year, out over the hedges in left field for a 3-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the frame, Presbyterian countered with two runs. Designated hitter Nate Horton singled and advanced to third on a double by third baseman Ryan Morris. Second baseman Matthew Hill plated the first run of the frame with an infield hit. Two batters later, Aaron Preston lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to bring home Morris, cutting Liberty's edge to 3-2.
The Flames scored three more runs in the third. With the bases full and two out, Thompson lined a bases-clearing double into the left field corner, upping the Liberty advantage to 6-2.
The Blue Hose pushed across a run in the bottom of the inning. Left fielder Mack Hite led off with a double and scored with one out on an infield single by catcher Tony Micklon to make it, 6-3.
In the fifth, Presbyterian cut into Liberty's lead with a run. Hite reached on catcher's interference and stole second base. Two batters later, Micklon singled, plating Hite to bring the Blue Hose closer at 6-4.
Liberty stretched its lead in the eighth. With the bases loaded and two out, Trey Wimmer, who had entered the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth, ripped a single to left, scoring two runners for an 8-4 lead.
Presbyterian scored a run in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Morris, trimming the Flames' advantage to 8-5.
Liberty added an important insurance run in the top of the ninth. With one out, second baseman P.J. Jimenez singled and stole second base. Thompson, the next batter, then cashed in the runner, with a hit-and-run single, extending the Flames' lead to 9-5.
In the bottom of ninth, the Blue Hose rallied. Presbyterian loaded the bases with one out and scored two runs on a single by first baseman Kenny Bryant, slicing the Liberty lead to two at 9-7. Two batters later, Horton singled with the bases loaded to make it, 9-8. The next batter, Ryan Morris, walked to force in a run, tying the contest at 9-9.
Liberty jumped back into the lead in the top of the 10th inning. The Flames quickly plated four runs, as the first six batters of the frame reached safely. Redal opened the inning by reaching on a throwing error by third baseman Matthew Hill and stealing second base. Wimmer promptly made it, 10-9, Liberty with a RBI double off the left-center field fence. Third baseman Tyler Bream followed with a run-scoring single for an 11-9 advantage.
Bream moved to third on a double by Williams and Austin Taylor walked to load the bases. Bream scored on a wild pitch and Jimenez provided a run-scoring single, upping the lead to 13-9. Two batters later, a RBI grounder by right fielder Michael Robertson gave Liberty a 14-9 edge.
Batting for the second time in the extra frame, Redal singled home the sixth run of the uprising and Casey Brown, who took over in left field in the bottom of the eighth, scored on a wild pitch for the final score of 16-9.
Liberty reliever Cameron Giannini picks up the win to move his record to 3-2 on the year. The freshman entered the game with the winning run on third and one out in the ninth. He then got Hill to bounce into a double play, sending the contest to extra innings. Giannini pitched a scoreless 1 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.
Grammer, who moved from shortstop to pitcher in the ninth, takes the loss to fall to 0-1 on the season. He gave up four runs on four hits over 2/3 of an inning.
Thompson had four hits for the Flames in the contest. Jimenez, Bream and Robertston had three hits apiece. Micklon and Hite each had four hits for the Blue Hose.
Liberty continues on the road, Tuesday. The Flames will square off in an evening contest against the Elon Phoenix. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.