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Liberty Mounts Comeback to Down PC, 6-5
After the visiting Presbyterian College Blue Hose took a lead in the top of the seventh, Liberty struck for three runs in the bottom of the inning, en route to a 6-5 victory, Friday night in a Big South contest at Worthington Stadium.
Winners of three-straight games, Liberty moves to 8-5 in Big South play and 18-16 overall. PC falls to 4-9 in conference action and 18-17 overall.
The host Flames opened the scoring early, posting three runs on the new Worthington Stadium scoreboard in the first inning. With one out, right fielder Michael Robertson was hit by a pitch and stole both second and third bases. Shortstop Matt Williams then drew a base on balls and promptly stole second base, moving both Liberty runners into scoring position. Left fielder Doug Bream followed by lacing a triple to the bottom of the right-center field wall, clearing the bases and giving the Flames a 2-0 advantage. The next batter, third baseman Tyler Bream, lifted a sacrifice fly to deliver another run and put the home team up, 3-0.
Presbyterian College countered with three runs in the top of the third inning to tie the contest. Third baseman Tyler Hill beat out a one-out infield single and second baseman John Wagner walked. Two batters later, left fielder Mack Hite beat out an infield single to load the bases with two outs. Designated hitter Brad Zebedis, the Big South's leading hitter, followed by splitting the left-center field gap with a liner for a bases-clearing double, evening the game at 3-3.
After three scoreless frames, the Blue Hose broke through in the top of the seventh inning to take a 5-3 advantage, scoring both runs with two outs. Once again, Hill got things started with an infield single. Wagner followed with a triple off the right-center field wall, plating Hill. And, when a relay throw by the Flames shortstop went into the dugout, Wagner scored to give PC a two-run edge.
The Blue Hose advantage was short-lived, as Liberty answered in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead. Second baseman Zack Haley opened the home half of the seventh by lining a double inside the left field line and into the corner. After Haley advanced to third base on a ground out, Robertson lifted a sacrifice fly to score him, cutting the Flames' deficit to one run at 5-4.
Williams followed with a two-out double and knotted the contest at 5-5, when Doug Bream lined his second extra base hit of the night, a double, into the left-center field gap on a 2-2 pitch. After a pitching change, Tyler Bream greeted new Presbyterian College pitcher Chandler Knox with a run-scoring single for a 6-5 Liberty lead.
Flamse starter John Niggli did not figure in the decision. The right-hander gave up five runs on six hits over the first 6 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one. Beakler followed by allowing one hit over 2/3 of an inning, picking up his first win of the year to move to 1-0. Baker pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to earn his first save of the season. He retired all four batters he faced, including inducing an inning-ending double play in the eighth.
Blue Hose starter Buck Mosteller falls to 4-3 on the year. The right-hander allowed six runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked two batters. Knox pitched the final 1 1/3 innings, yielding one hit.
Liberty had nine hits in the contest. The Flames' three, four and five hitters each had two hits, as Williams, Doug Bream and Tyler Bream had a pair of hits apiece. Haley also had two hits for Liberty.
Hite and Hill had two hits each for Presbyterian College. The Blue Hose totaled seven hits in the contest.
PC and Liberty will met again in a doubleheader on Sunday, with the first game starting at 1 p.m.