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Big Fifth Inning Lifts High Point Past Liberty, 10-2

March 24, 2007  High Point, N.C.  RSS
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Big Fifth Inning Lifts High Point Past Liberty, 10-2
High Point scored eight runs in the fifth inning to break open a 1-0 game on their way to a 10-2 victory over the Liberty Flames, Saturday afternoon in Big South Conference action at Willard Stadium.

High Point opened the game with a run in the home half of the first inning. With one out, Jeff Cowan looped a double into the left center field gap. After the next batter Billy Alvino was hit by a pitch, both runners moved to second and third base on a ground out. Randy Schwartz followed with a single to left to score Cowan, but Flames' left fielder P.K. Keller (Jr., LF, Clearwater, Fla.) threw Alvino out at home plate to prevent further damage and end the inning.

The Panthers threatened again in their next at bat. With runners at the corners and one out, Alfie Wheeler lifted a fly ball to right which Phil John (Sr., RF, Linwood, N.J.) caught and then made a strong throw to plate to catch Eric Marion trying to score and keeping the score at 1-0 High Point.

In the fifth, the Panthers plated eight two-out runs to push their advantage to 9-0. Schwartz singled to sharply to center field to score runners from second and third to up the High Point edge to 3-0. The next three batters continued the inning with back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases. The Panthers then made it, 4-0, on catcher's inference. Robby Kuzdale followed with a bases-clearing triple. He capped the scoring in the frame on a single by Alvino.

High Point added another run in the seventh. After a walk to Manion, Schwartz doubled to up the Panther lead to 10-0.

Liberty averted the shutout in the eighth. Aaron Phillip (Jr., SS, Claremore, Okla.) walked with one out and advanced on a single by Derek Bennion (Sr., CF, Snohomish, Wash.). John then doubled home both runners for the final score of 10-2.

Flames starter Dustin Umberger (So., RHP, Hummelstown, Pa.) falls to 2-3 on the year as the right-hander allowed nine runs, four earned in 4 2/3 innings. Grady Ihnat (Fr., LHP, Simi Valley, Calif.) followed, yielding one run on four hits over 2 1/3 innings. Chase Vaden (Fr., LHP, Lynch Station, Va.) pitched one inning, giving up two hits. Panther starter Eammon Portice gave up no runs on three hits over seven innings to run his season mark to 3-3. Glenn Jones finished the game for High Point, allowing two runs on four hits. 

No players had multiple-hit games on the afternoon for the visiting Flames, while Cowan went 4-for-5 to pace the Panthers. Schwartz and Manion each had three hits for High Point in the contest.

Liberty and High Point meet again tomorrow in the rubber game of the three-game Big South series tomorrow. First pitch at High Point's Willard Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m.