After Liberty had scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 7-4 lead, the Winthrop Eagles rallied for four runs in the bottom of the inning to edge the Flames, 8-7, Saturday, at Winthrop Ballpark in game two of the Big South Conference series between the two teams.
Liberty drops to 17-7 overall and 0-2 in Big South play, while Winthrop moves to 20-5 overall and 2-0 in conference.
Winthrop, for the straight day, scored three in the first inning. Chris Carrara led off with a home run to left, while a base loaded walk and Nate Bly RBI single gave the Eagles an early 3-0 advantage.
Liberty countered with single runs in the second and third innings. In the second inning, the Flames loaded the bases with one out and scored as Derek Bennion (r-Jr.) walked, while in the third, Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.) singled home Michael Just (Sr., 2B, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.), after the second baseman had doubled, to cut the lead to 3-2.
The Eagles added to their lead in the fourth inning. Carrara opened the inning with a single and moved to second on balk. Jacob Dempsey then singled to right field to scored the second baseman for a 4-2 advantage.
The Flames battled back to knot the score with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings. In the sixth inning, Phil John (Jr., CF, Linwood, N.J.) hit a solo home run, his first of the season, to cut the lead to 3-2. The seventh, Chad Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.) singled to open the frame, stole second base and moved to third on a ground out. Laurent then scored Miller with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 4-4.
With the game tied and both starters out, the game came down the ninth inning. In the top of the inning, after a quick out, both Miller and Just received walks. The next batter Laurent followed with a single to right field to put the Flames up, 5-4. After a pop out, John singled sharply up the middle to bring home Just and Laurent for a 7-4 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Eagles come from behind for the victory. After a single and a walk to open the inning, Dempsey doubled to right center to score both runners and close the gap to 7-6. After a single by Lentz moved the runner to third, a ground out tied the game at 7-7. Phil Carey then sent a single up the middle to score Lentz with the game-winner.
Liberty starter Ryan Page (So., LHP, Cranberry Twp., Pa.) pitched five innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits. Tim John (Jr., RHP, Linwood, N.J.) pitched three scoreless innings in relief. Phillip Thompson (Sr., RHP, Ringgold, Va.) fell to 3-2 as he pitched the ninth. Winthrop reliever John Settle moved to 2-1, despite giving up three runs on two hits in the top of the ninth.
Phil John was 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI on the afternoon, while Laurent, who also had three RBI, Just and Abe Yeakel (Jr., DH, Kutztown, Pa.) all had two hits for the Flames. Dempsey was 4-for-5 with three RBI to lead the Eagles, who had four players with three hits or more in the game.
The two teams meet again tomorrow in the final of their three-game series at Winthrop Ballpark. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.