Jake Barbee collected a career-high four hits, Saturday.
Despite four hits by Jake Barbee and three from D.J. Artis, the Liberty Flames fell to the High Point Panthers, 7-4, Saturday evening at the Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Barbee had a career-high four hits, all singles, and scored a run in the contest for the Flames. Meanwhile, Artis went 3-for-3 with two walks and plated two runs.
However, High Point overcame a shaky start to even the three-game Big South series at 1-1, after Liberty took the opener of the series, 11-1, on Friday.
Liberty drops to 10-7 overall and 1-1 in Big South play. High Point moves to 9-8 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
The Flames jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the first inning. Artis led off the home half of the first with a single and moved to third on a one-out single by first baseman Sammy Taormina. With catcher Matt Allen at the plate, the Liberty center fielder scored on a passed ball for a 1-0 edge. After Allen walked, Barbee followed with an infield single to load the bases. The second passed ball of the inning then allowed Taormina to come home for a two-run Liberty lead.
The host Flames again loaded the bases in the second, but came away empty. Panthers' right-hander Drew Daczkowski stranded all three runners by retiring the next two Liberty hitters to end the threat and the inning.
High Point tied the game in the fourth. Center fielder Josh Greene and first baseman Jordan Sergent walked to open the inning. Designated hitter Zack Gray followed with a run-scoring double to trim their hosts' lead to 2-1. Right fielder Carson Jackson then lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Sergent and deadlock the contest at 2-2.
Each team pushed across a run in the fifth. Back-to-back doubles by High Point catcher JJ Woodward and Jackson gave the Panthers a 3-2 edge in the top of the inning. However, Liberty answered in the bottom of the inning. Barbee opened the inning with a single and later scored on a ground out by third baseman Trey McDyre to draw the Flames even at 3-3.
High Point took the lead for good with two runs in the sixth. With two out, Jackson reached on an infield single and moved to third on a single by second baseman Hunter Lee. After a Liberty pitching change, pinch hitter Drew Fopeano doubled off the right field wall, scoring both runners for a 5-3 edge.
Liberty countered with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning. Artis began the home half of the sixth with an infield single and later, stole second with two outs. Allen followed with a single to cash in Artis and cut the Flames' deficit to one at 5-4.
It was as close as Liberty got in the contest. The Panthers added two insurance runs in the ninth on a two-run single by Greene for what proved to be the final score of 7-4.
Flames starting pitcher Evan Mitchell drops to 1-1. The right-hander gave up five runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five and walked two.
Daczkowski improves to 2-1. The Panthers right-hander allowed three runs, one earned, on seven hits over the first five innings. He struck out six and walked four. Rion Murrah, the last of three pitchers for High Point, records his second save of the year. He did not allow a run over the final 2 1/3 innings.
Liberty outhit High Point, 11-9. It is the first time this season the Flames have had more than 10 hits in a contest and failed to come away with the victory.
Liberty left 13 men on base, while High Point stranded five.
Up Next: Liberty and High Point will meet in the final contest of their three-game series, tomorrow afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.