Winthrop defeats Liberty in series finale
The Winthrop Eagles broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the fifth inning and continued on to a 13-2 win over the Liberty Flames, Saturday at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
After knotting the game with a run in the fourth, the Eagles had five consecutive batters reach base with one out and plated three runs over the span to take a lead they never relinquished.
Liberty outfielders D.J. Artis and Jake Barbee each had two hits in the contest to pace the Flames.
Liberty falls to 7-5 in Big South play and 20-14 overall. After taking all three games of the conference series, Winthrop improves its Big South mark to 8-4 and their overall record to 20-16. The Eagles have won the last six meeting between the two teams.
Liberty took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. With two out, Barbee doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He then scored the first run of the contest on a passed ball for an early Flames’ advantage.
Winthrop answered in the top of the second. First baseman Tyler Halstead led off the inning with a single and stole second. With two outs, center fielder Matthew Mulkey singled to center, plating Halstead and knotting the game at 1-1.
The Flames went back in front in the third. Shortstop Cam Locklear singled and Artis reached on a bunt single to begin the home half of the inning. An Eagles’ error on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Trey McDyre allowed the Liberty to load the bases. After the first out of frame, first baseman Sammy Taormina lifted a sacrifice fly to the wall to give Liberty a 2-1 edge.
Winthrop knotted the game again in the top of the fourth. With two outs, second baseman Brandon Fite drew a walk and scored on a double by third baseman Jake Sullivan to tie the contest at 2-2.
The Eagles went in front for good in the fifth. With one out, left fielder Anthony Paulsen walked and shortstop Mitch Spires singled. Right fielder Hunter Lipscomb followed with a RBI single for a 3-2 visitors’ edge. After catcher Babe Thomas loaded the bases with an infield single, Halstead single back through the middle of the diamond, plating two runs for a 5-2 Winthrop advantage.
In the seventh, Liberty threatened, but was unable to cut into their deficit. With one out, Locklear walked and moved to second on a single by Artis. After a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners with two out, Eagle reliever Riley Arnone walked the first batter he faced in Barbee to load the bases, but was able to get Taormina to fly out to center field to end the scoring threat and the inning.
Winthrop added a run in the eighth and broke open the contest in the ninth with seven runs.
Right-hander Jack DeGroat drops to 0-1 on the season for Liberty. The right-hander allowed three runs on four hits over 2/3 innings. He walked two batters.
Winthrop starting pitcher Colton Rendon moves 4-3 on year. He gave up two runs on five hits over six innings. He struck out six and walked one.
The Eagles outhit the Flames, 16-8. Winthrop committed one error.
Up Next: Liberty begins its longest road trip of the season, Tuesday. The Flames will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., for a contest against the No. 4 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. Game time at Boshamer Stadium is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.