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Niggli Stellar in Liberty's 7-0 Victory over Winthrop
Pitcher John Niggli tossed eight scoreless innings, leading the Liberty Flames past the Winthrop Eagles, 7-0, in a Big South contest, Friday evening at the Winthrop Ballpark.
Niggli runs his record to 7-0 on the season. The right-hander pitched eight scoreless innings, scattering five hits. The senior struck out five batters and walked one. Niggli combined with Jacob Kemmerer, who pitched a scoreless ninth, to record Liberty's school-record ninth shutout of the year.
Liberty moves to 8-2 in the Big South Conference and 29-8 overall. The game was the first of a season-long nine-game road trip for the Flames. Winthrop drops to 4-6 in conference and 11-24 overall.
Liberty jumped onto the scoreboard in the top of the second inning. The Flames opened the inning by loading the bases, as the first three hitters of the frame reached. Wimmer followed by lining a bases-clearing double into left field corner for a 3-0 Liberty edge.
Third baseman Dalton Sype, the next batter, plated Wimmer with a single back through the middle to give the Flames a 4-0 advantage.
After Niggli retired eight straight batters, Winthrop center fielder Chas Crane began the bottom of the fifth with a single to right center field. Later in the inning, the Eagles loaded the bases with two out. However, the starter ended the scoring threat by getting the next batter to bounce out to first baseman Alex Close to close the inning.
The Flames added insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Right fielder Ryan Cordell ripped a double into the left field corner to lead off the inning. After moving to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Wimmer, Cordell scored on a squeeze bunt by Sype, upping Liberty's lead to what proved to be the final score of 5-0. Later in the inning, shortstop Zack Haley lined a two-run double off the top of the left-center field wall with two Flames aboard for what proved to be the final score of 7-0.
Winthrop starter Matt Pierpont falls to 3-6 on the year. The right-hander gave up five runs on 11 hits. He struck out a career-high 10 batters and walked one.
Liberty collected 12 hits in the contest. Cordell and Sype had three hits apiece for the Flames. Winthrop had five in the game.
The Flames and the Eagles will meet again tomorrow at Winthrop Ballpark. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.