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Presbyterian Downs Liberty, 9-7

April 23, 2016  Clinton, S.C.  RSS
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Catcher Josh Latta had three RBI, Saturday.

Catcher Josh Latta had three RBI, Saturday.

In a game which saw three ties, the Presbyterian Blue Hose outlasted the Liberty Flames, 9-7, in a back-and-
forth contest, Saturday afternoon at PC Baseball Complex.

Liberty catcher Josh Latta had a career-high three RBI with two hits. He also scored a run in the Big South contest.

Second baseman Will Shepherd also hit his career-high sixth home run of the season in the contest.

Liberty falls to 7-7 in Big South play and 21-20 overall. Presbyterian improves to 6-8 in conference play and 20-18 overall.

After a scoreless first four innings, Liberty struck for a two-out run in the top of the fifth. With two away, Latta was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a wild pitch. Third baseman Josh Barrick followed with a liner into the right-center field gap, plating Latta for a 1-0 edge.

The Flames added to their lead in the top of sixth, thanks to Shepherd. The second baseman ripped the first pitch of his at bat over the left-center field wall, upping the Liberty advantage to 2-0.

In the bottom of the inning, Presbyterian benefited from a two-out error to tie the game. Left fielder Brett Aukland opened the home half of the sixth with a double. After the next two batters were retired, Liberty pitcher Jack DeGroat dropped the throw from first baseman Andrew Yacyk on what turned out to be an infield single in the first base hole by first baseman A.J. Priaulx, allowing Aukland to score. Shortstop Cletis Avery then walked. Third baseman Jacob Midkiff followed with a RBI single, knotting the score at 2-2.

Liberty answered with runs in the top of the seventh. Designated hitter Nick Walker walked and was replaced by pinch runner Tray Roberts, who stole second base. Left fielder Josh Close then reached on a fielding error by Blue Hose shortstop Cletis Avery. After both runners advance into scoring position on a wild pitch, Latta singled through the right side of the infield, plating both runners for a 4-2 advantage.

In the bottom of the inning, Presbyterian went in front on the scoreboard, batting around. Second baseman Glen Casaceli began the frame with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball. After pinch hitter Peter Johnson walked, Aukland bunted to score Casaceli and both Aukland and Johnson were safe when the Flames' DeGroat threw wild in an attempt to get the runner at second

Both runners then moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt and right fielder Weston Jackson was intentionally walked to load the bases. Priaulx followed with a bases-clearing double to give the Blue Hose a 6-4 lead. Two batters later, Midkiff singled to score Priaulx for a 7-4 advantage.

Liberty scored three runs in the top of the eighth to tie the game for the third time. Yacyk drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a double off the right field wall. Yacyk then scored on a wild pitch, cutting the PC lead to 7-5. Two batters later, Close walked and stole second to put two runners in scoring positions with one out. Latta followed with a run-scoring ground out to move the Flames to within one at 7-6. After Barrick was hit by a pitch, a wild pitch allowed Britt to score, tying the game at 7-7.

Presbyterian used two two-out runs in the bottom of the eighth. With two out, Aukland drew a walk. After a Liberty pitching change, center fielder Tyler Weyenberg drove the first pitch he saw into the left center gap, scoring Aukland for an 8-7 advantage. Center fielder Weston Jackson added insurance, following with a triple for what proved to be the final score of 9-7.

Liberty reliever Shane Quarterley falls to 5-2. The second of three Flames to pitch in the contest, the right-hander allowed three runs on two hits over 1 1/3-plus innings. He struck out three and walked two.

Presbyterian reliever Hayden Deal improves to 2-1. The third of three Blue Hose pitchers on the afternoon, the left-hander pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Presbyterian outhit Liberty, 10-8. Liberty left eight men on, while Presbyterian left seven.

Liberty and Presbyterian will meet in the series finale at PC Baseball Complex. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.