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Evans Strong in 8-2 Win at Winthrop
Liberty pitcher Steven Evans pitched eight scoreless innings, as the Flames defeated the Winthrop Eagles, 8-2, Thursday night in the opening game of a three-game Big South series at the Winthrop Ballpark.
Liberty moves to 19-6 in Big South play and 39-15 overall. With the win, the Flames tie the school record for most victories at the NCAA Division I level. The 2006 Liberty team also posted 39 wins during a 39-21 campaign. The 1983 Flames hold the school mark for wins in a season with 40. Winthrop falls to 11-14 in conference play and 23-28 overall.
Evans held the Eagles in check over eight innings, scattering five hits, to run his record to 8-2 on the season. The left-hander struck out three and walked two batters. After pitching out of jams in the first two innings, Evans did not allow hit from the third inning until the first Winthrop batter of the eighth.
Liberty jumped onto the scoreboard in its opening at bat. The first three Flames to hit in the contest singled to produce the game's first two runs. Center fielder Curran Redal led off the contest with a liner to center field and moved to third base on a single by shortstop Matt Williams, who advanced to second base on the throw to third base. Third baseman Tyler Bream followed by ripping a two-run single back through the middle for a quick 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Bream moved to third on a single to left field by second baseman P.J. Jimenez and scored on a fielder's choice grounder by designated hitter Austin Taylor for a 3-0 advantage.
In the home half of the first inning, Winthrop loaded the bases with two outs. After the first two batters were retired, left fielder Eddie Rohan singled and third baseman Chas Crane doubled. The next Eagle hitter, first baseman Patrick Gamblin, was hit by a pitch, filling the bases. However, Evans was able to get the next batter to bounce to Bream for the unassisted force out at third to end the inning.
The Flames extended their lead in the top of the third. After the first three batters of the inning reached by either a walk or being hit by a pitch, Jimenez dropped a single into left field to make it, 4-0.
Liberty added two runs in the sixth. With two outs, Taylor singled back through the middle and stole second base. Right fielder Michael Robertson singled to left field, cashing in Taylor for a 5-0 advantage. Robertson stole second base and scored on single by first baseman Trey Wimmer for a 6-0 lead.
The Flames put the game out of reach in the seventh. Williams singled with one out and came all the way around to plate a run on a double by Bream. Two batters later, Jimenez lined a RBI single through the left side for an 8-0 advantage.
In the ninth, Winthrop broke up the shutout against Liberty reliever Carter Browning. The Eagles plated two runs with a two-out, base-loaded double by second baseman Tyler Cook.
Eagle starter D'Angelo Matteo falls to 7-5 on the season. In his shortest outing of the season, the right-hander allowed four runs on six hits over three innings. The first of three pitchers to take the mound for Winthrop in the contest struck out two and walked one.
Jimenez and Williams led all hitters in the game with three hits apiece. Crane had two hits for Eagles.
Liberty and Winthrop will meet again tomorrow night in the middle game of the three-game series tomorrow night at Winthrop Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.