Kowalo’s four hits help Liberty dump Charleston Southern, 12-2

libertySecond baseman Andrew Kowalo had four hits and four RBI, powering the Liberty Flames to a 12-2 victory over the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, Friday evening at CSU Ballpark.

Kowalo collected a career-high four hits, including his first home run of the season and two doubles, as the Flames pounded out a season-high 13 hits in the contest. He tied his career high with four RBI. It is the third time in his career the senior has driven in four runs in a contest, including last Sunday during Liberty’s 14-2 win over High Point.

After pitching the first complete game of his career in a victory over High Point last week, Evans held the Buccaneers to two runs on six hits over eight innings, running his record to 4-2 on the year. The right-hander struck out two and walked three.

Liberty improves to 3-1 in the Big South Conference and 13-7 overall. The Flames have won three straight and five out of their last six contests. Charleston Southern drops to 1-3 in conference play and 11-8 overall. The Bucs have lost four of their last five games.

After both teams had runners at the corners with one out ruined by ground ball double plays in the first inning, Liberty sent 10 men to the plate and scored five runs in the top of half of the second. The Flames ripped three doubles in the frame.

First baseman Sammy Taormina led off the inning with a ground rule double. After third baseman Trey McDyre reached on a fielder’s choice, both runners moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by right fielder Will Shepherd. Second baseman Andrew Kowalo followed with a double down the right field line, plating both runners for a 2-0 edge.

Two batters later, center fielder D.J. Artis drew a two-out walk and was aboard on a two-run double by designated hitter Eric Grabowski for a 4-0 advantage. Left fielder Jake Barbee followed with a run-scoring single to up the Liberty lead to 5-0.

In the bottom of the inning, Charleston Southern got on the scoreboard. Center fielder Chris Singleton walked to open the inning and advanced to second on a ground out. Catcher Mike Sconzo followed with a single to score Singleton to make it 5-1, Flames.

Kowalo extended the Liberty advantage in the third. Shepherd singled to lead off the inning. Kowalo followed with a blast off the CSU Ballpark scoreboard in left field for a 7-1 lead.

Liberty lengthened its advantage in the fifth. Kowalo led off the inning with a single and scored on a one-out single by Artis. Later, Barbee collected his second RBI of the contest; plating Artis with a ground out to give the Flames a 9-1 lead.

Charleston Southern scored a run in the eighth. Second baseman Nate Blanchard connected for his second home run of the season to make it 9-2, Liberty.

The Flames added three runs in the ninth. Kowalo’s second double of the contest plated the first run of the inning, while pinch hitter Dylan Allen singled home the final two runs of the 12-2 win.

Buccaneers starter Cody Maw falls to 1-2 on the season. The left-hander gave up five runs on five hits over 1 2/3 innings. He struck out one and walked two.


Up Next: Liberty and Charleston Southern will face off tomorrow in the middle game of their three-game Big South series at CSU Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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