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Seven-run second fuels Liberty victory over Presbyterian

The Liberty Flames scored seven runs in the second on their way to sailing past the Presbyterian Blue Hose, 8-3, Friday evening at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

libertyWith the win, the Flames clinch at least the second seed for next week’s Big South Baseball Championship.

Liberty had eight consecutive men reach base and plated all seven of its runs in the second inning with two out. Center fielder D.J. Artis started the two-out scoring outburst by ripping a three-run home run, his sixth of the season, to give the Flames an advantage they never relinquished.

Liberty catcher Payton Scarbrough also hit a home run in the contest, his fourth, one of two hits for him in the game.

The Flames move to 16-7 in Big South play and 32-20 overall. Liberty will enter its final regular season game tied with Winthrop for first place in the conference standings. The Blue Hose drop to 14-9 in the Big South and 28-27 overall.

The Flames had 12 men bat in the home half of the second inning. With one out, right fielder Will Shepherd, who had both of his hits in the contest come in the second, reached on an infield single. Two batters later, shortstop Cam Locklear lined a two-out single through the left side of the infield, putting two runners aboard for Artis, who belted a 3-1 pitch over the center field wall for a 3-0 advantage.

Third baseman Trey McDyre and left fielder Jake Barbee continued the inning with back-to-back singles. First baseman Sammy Taormina followed with an infield single to score McDyre and a RBI double by designated hitter Eric Grabowski brought home Barbee for a 5-0 lead. After second baseman Andrew Kowalo walked to load the bases, Shepherd shot a two-run single through the left side of the infield for a 7-0 advantage.

A home run got Presbyterian on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth. Shortstop Cletis Avery led off the inning with an infield single and scored ahead of center fielder Tyler Weyenberg’s third home run of the year, cutting the Liberty lead to 7-2.

Scarbrough opened the bottom of the inning with a solo home run to extend the Flames’ cushion on the scoreboard to six at 8-2.

The Blue Hose pushed across the final run of the contest in the sixth. First baseman A.J. Priaulx doubled to lead off the inning and came around to score on a two-out double by designated hitter Nate Wise for what proved to be the final of 8-3.

Making his first start of the season, Liberty right-hander Jack DeGroat did not figure in the decision. The sophomore pitched 4 1/3 innings, yielding two runs on five hits. He struck out six and walked two.

Reliever Cody Gamble followed and gave up one run on three hits over 1 2/3 innings to even his record at 3-3 on the season, while Shane Quarterley did not allow a run over the final three innings to record his first save of the year.

PC starter Tanner Chock falls to 3-6 on the season. Chock was roughed up for seven runs on eight hits over 1 2/3 innings. He struck out one and walked three.

Liberty outhit Presbyterian, 14-10. Each team committed one error each.


Up Next: Liberty and Presbyterian will wrap-up their respective 2017 regular seasons on Saturday at Liberty Baseball Stadium. Before the game, the 13 seniors on the Liberty baseball team will be honored as part of Senior Day Festivities. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.


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