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Niggli Shuts Down High Point in 9-0 Liberty Win
Liberty right-hander John Niggli held High Point in check over eight innings, as the Flames downed the Panthers, 9-0, Saturday afternoon in a Big South contest at Coy O. Willard Stadium.
Liberty moves to 6-5 in Big South action and 16-16 overall. The win snaps a five-game losing skid for the Flames, their longest of the season. High Point drops to 4-7 in conference play and 17-17 overall.
Niggli was in control throughout the first eight innings of the contest, scattering three hits. He allowed only two High Point runners to move into scoring position throughout his time on the mound, before giving way to relief pitcher Jacob Kemmerer. The right-hander struck out two batters and walked one, running his record to 4-2 on the year. After allowing a hit to the leadoff batter in the fourth inning, he did not allow another hit until two outs in his final inning, the eighth.
Kemmerer pitched a scoreless ninth inning, striking out the final two batters of the contest to complete the shutout. It is the second blanking of an opponent by the Flames this season.
Liberty got on the scoreboard first, plating a run in the top of the second inning. Third baseman Tyler Bream led off the frame by singling sharply through the left side of the infield. After moving to second base on a sacrifice bunt by first baseman Austin Taylor, Bream advanced to third base on a single to right field by catcher Jeff Jefferson. Next batter, second baseman Zach Haley, delivered the Flames third baseman with a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead.
In its next at bat, Liberty added to its advantage. With right fielder Michael Robertson aboard after a fielder's choice and two outs, left fielder Doug Bream kept the inning alive with a single. Designated hitter Justin Richardson followed by lining a double to the bottom of the right field wall to score both runners, extending the Flames lead to 3-0.
Liberty made it three consecutive scoring innings in the fourth, batting around and plating four runs. With one out, the Flames struck for a quick run thanks to back-to-back doubles to left field by Jefferson and Haley. After a pitching change by the Panthers, center fielder Ian Parmley dropped a single into center fielder to advance Haley to third base. Robertson followed with a fielder's choice grounder to bring home Haley to make it, 5-0 Flames. Shortstop Matt Williams doubled to put both runners in scoring position. Doug Bream then went the other way, lining a single into left field, cashing in both runners, upping the visitors' advantage to 7-0.
With Niggli cruising through the first seven innings, Liberty added two more runs in the eighth inning. After three straight singles with two outs, Doug Bream lined a two-run single to left field for the final score of 9-0.
High Point starter Jared Avidon falls to 1-3 on the year. The right-hander was roughed up by the Flames, giving up five runs on seven hits over 3 1/3 innings. He struck out two and walked one. He was the first of eight pitchers to take the mound for the Panthers in the contest.
Liberty had fifteen hits in the contest, led by Doug Bream, who had four hits and drove in career-high four runs. The left fielder has driven in four runs in a contest four times during his career. Parmley, Williams and Tyler Bream each had two hits for the Flames. First baseman Drew Geissinger had two of the three High Point hits in the game.
Liberty and High Point will meet again tomorrow at Willard Stadium. The finale of the three-game series is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.