The Winthrop Eagles used six eight-inning runs to come-from-behind to defeat the Liberty Flames, 10-8, Sunday afternoon at Winthrop Ballpark in the final game of the three-game Big South series.
With the setback, Liberty falls to 17-8 and opens Big South play, 0-3, while Winthrop moves to 21-5 and 3-0 in conference play.
The Flames opened the game with three runs in the first inning. Patrick Gaillard (Jr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) led off the frame with a bunt single and was followed by single to right field by Chad Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.). Michael Just (Sr., 2B, Woodcliff Lakes, N.J.) then doubled to the left center field gap to plate both runners for a 2-0 advantage. After a fly out, Aaron Grijalva (r-So., 1B, Redlands, Calif.) doubled to left center field to plating Just for a 3-0 lead.
The Eagles would get two back in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back home runs by Chris Carrera and Heath Rollins to lead off their half of the inning.
Liberty extended their lead in the fourth inning. Abe Yeakel (Jr., DH, Kutztown, Pa.) opened the frame with a triple to the wall in center field. The next batter, Phil John (Jr., RF, Linwood, N.J.) singled to score Yeakel for the Flames' fourth run of the game. After fly out, Errol Hollinger (Fr., C, Upland, Calif.) singled through the hole between second and third, moving John to third. John then scored on a RBI ground out by Gaillard for a 5-2 lead.
Winthrop cut the lead to 5-4 in the sixth inning with two two-out runs. Right fielder Phil Carey hit a solo home run to right field and a RBI double by catcher Alan Robbins.
In the seventh inning, Liberty added to their lead. After a leadoff walk to Gaillard and a single by Just, Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.) singled to center field to score Gaillard. The Eagles' center fielder then allowed the single to get past him and roll all the way to the wall, allowing Just to score and Laurent to circle the bases, giving the Flames an 8-4 advantage.
Winthrop sent 11 batters to the plate and strike for six runs in the eighth inning to go ahead 10-8. After back-to-back singles and a fielding error on sacrifice bunt, Alan Robbins doubled to score two runs. After a ground out made it 8-7, Chris Carrara hit a RBI single to right to knot the score at 8-8. Heath Rollins followed with a RBI single to score Carrara putting the Eagles on top, 9-8. After the next two batters were walked intentionally to load the bases, Winthrop plated another run on a sacrifice fly.
Starter Dustin Umberger (Fr., RHP, Hummelstown, Pa.) allowed four runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings for the Flames, while reliever Phillip Thompson (Sr., RHP, Ringgold, Va.) took the loss, evening his record at 3-3, allowing four earned runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings. Tyler Light (Fr., RHP, San Bernardino, Calif.) pitched 2/3 of an inning in the eighth. Winthrop's Jason Franzblau ran his mark to 2-0 on the season allowing two earned runs in five innings of work.
Just went 3-for-5 with two RBI and Hollinger had two hits as the only Liberty players with multiple hits, while five Eagles had two or more in the game.
The Flames return home on Wednesday for a non-conference match-up with George Mason. Game time at Worthington Stadium is 3 p.m.