Home Five-run second pushes Winthrop past Liberty, 7-5

Five-run second pushes Winthrop past Liberty, 7-5


libertyA five-run second inning proved to be the difference, as the Winthrop Eagles downed the Liberty Flames, 7-5, Saturday afternoon at the Winthrop Ballpark.

The Eagles scored five runs in the second behind a grand slam by third baseman Grant English, only to see the Flames plate four in the third in the Big South Conference contest. However, Liberty could never overcome the early Winthrop advantage.

Liberty left fielder D.J. Artis had two hits and was intentionally walked in the contest. He scored a run and drove in two runs. First baseman Andrew Yacyk also had two hits.

Liberty falls to 3-2 in the Big South and 16-13 overall. The Flames have lost three straight contests. Winthrop moves to 3-2 in conference and 15-12 overall. The Eagles have won four consecutive games and take the three-game Big South series with wins in the first two games.

      Winthrop plated five runs in the home half of the second inning. The first five batters of the frame reached. Shortstop Mitch Spires walked and first baseman Mark Lowrie and catcher Babe Thomas singled, loading the bases to begin the frame. A RBI single by right fielder Jace Whitely gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead. English followed with his first home run of this collegiate career, a grand slam, for a 5-0 lead.

Liberty countered with four runs in the top of the third. Third baseman Eric Grabowski led off the inning with a single and moved to third base on an opposite field double by catcher Josh Latta. Two batters later, Artis lined a single into right field, plating Grabowski with the Flames’ first run of the contest. A wild pitch then allowed Latta to come home, cutting the Eagles’ lead to 5-2. Designated hitter Nick Walker followed with an opposite single to left, scoring Artis and slicing the Liberty deficit to two at 5-3.

Later in the inning, Yacyk singled with two outs, moving Walker to second. Shortstop Dalton Britt then lined a run-scoring single into center, trimming the Eagles’ edge to 5-4. On the single, Winthrop center fielder Anthony Paulsen tried to throw Yacyk out advancing to third. When his throw got by third baseman English, Yacyk tried to score to tie the game, only to be thrown out at home plate.

Both pitchers, Liberty’s Victor Cole and Winthrop’s Zach Sightler, settled in. Cole allowed only two batters to reach from the third through six innings. Meanwhile, Sightler allowed only Artis to reach on a single from the fourth through six innings.

In the sixth, the Flames threatened, only to come away empty. Grabowski drew a leadoff walked and moved to second on a bunt by Latta, who also reached when Winthrop first baseman Lowrie dropped the throw. However, Sightler got center fielder Jack Morris to ground into a third-and-first double play for the first two outs of the inning. After intentionally walking Artis, reliever Freddie Sultan struck out Walker, ending the threat and keeping the Eagles’ one run edge.

Winthrop extended its advantage in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, left fielder Tyler Asbill singled and scored two batters later on a hit-and-run double by Paulsen for a 6-4 edge. After Paulsen moved to third base on a wild pitch, he came home on a passed ball to provide the Eagles with a three-run advantage at 7-4.

Liberty tried to rally in the ninth, scoring a run and bringing the tying run to the plate. Grabowski walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a ground out by Latta. Pinch hitter Sammy Taormina followed with a single, moving Grabowski to third. Grabowski then scored on a fielder’s choice by Artis for what proved to be the final score of 7-5. Winthrop reliever Zach Cook retired the next batter to close out the Eagle victory.

Cole drops to 2-2 on the season. The left-hander allowed seven runs, six earned, on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked six.

Parker Bean pitched the final 1 1//3 innings for the Flames. He struck out three and walked three.

Sightler moves to 4-1. The right-hander gave up four runs on eight hits over 6 2/3-plus innings. He struck out four and walked two.

Cook, the final pitcher of three for Winthrop, records his third save. He allowed one run on one hit. He struck out one and walked one.

Liberty outhit Winthrop, 10-7. The Eagles committed one error.

Liberty and Winthrop will wrap-up their three-game series, tomorrow afternoon at the Winthrop Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.



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