Liberty uses seven-run first to cruise by Presbyterian
Capped by a grand slam by right fielder Ayden Karraker, the Liberty Flames scored seven runs in the first inning and never looked back, easing past the Presbyterian Blue Hose, 11-6, Saturday afternoon at PC Baseball Complex.
Liberty opened the final game of the three-game series at Presbyterian by plating seven runs in the runs. The big blow of the inning came off the bat of right fielder Karraker who belted a two-out grand slam, his first home run of the year.
Shortstop Cam Locklear led the Flames with three hits and scored three times.
Liberty raises its record to 5-4 in Big South play and 15-11 overall. The Flames prevent the sweep with the win. Presbyterian, which took the first two games of the series, drops to 4-5 in conference and 9-20 overall.
Liberty jumped out to a 7-0 advantage in its first at bat. Center fielder D.J. Artis was hit by a pitch to open the contest, and second baseman Trey McDyre walked. Catcher Tre Todd followed with a single to load the bases. Two batters later, designated hitter Logan Mathieu walked, forcing in the first run of the game.
After the second out of the inning was recorded, Locklear walked and left fielder Jonathan Embry was hit by a pitch, both with the bases full, upping the Flames’ advantage to 3-0. Following a Blue Hose pitching change, Karraker ripped a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for a 7-0 lead.
Presbyterian pushed across a run in the bottom of the inning. With one out, shortstop Andrew Bladt tripled. Second baseman Jonathan White followed with a single, plating Bladt to make it, 7-1 Flames.
Liberty tacked on two more runs in the second. With one out, first baseman Dylan Allen was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a double into the right field corner by Mathieu. Third baseman Tyler Galazin followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Allen for an 8-1 edge. Two batters later, Embry lined a two-out double down the right field line, cashing in Mathieu for a 9-1 bulge on the scoreboard.
The Blue Hose moved closer on the scoreboard with single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, designated hitter Thatcher Coleman doubled to open the frame and later scored on a sacrifice fly. In the fourth, catcher T.J. Richardson singled home a run, while in the fifth, White delivered a RBI single to make it, 9-4 Flames.
Liberty added runs in the seventh and the ninth. McDyre singled to knock in Locklear, who led off the inning with a double, extending the Flames lead to 10-4, in the seventh, while Locklear singled to open the ninth and came around to score on a wild pitch for an 11-4 advantage.
Presbyterian first baseman Jack McLaughlin and right fielder Nick Wise hit back-to-back home runs with one out in the bottom of the ninth for the final ledger of 11-6.
Liberty right-hander Brady Stamper runs his record to 2-1 on the year. The freshman gave up four runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out a career-high nine and walked four.
Mason Hand finished off the game for the Flames, pitching the final 2 1/3 innings.
Presbyterian starting pitcher Reagan Fowler falls to 0-2. The Blue Hose right-hander did not make it out of the first inning. He allowed six runs on one hit over 2/3 of an inning, striking out one and walking three.
The Flames collected 13 hits and did not commit an error in the contest. The Blue Hose had 11 hits and made two errors.