After seeing Liberty score eight unanswered runs to take an 8-6 advantage, the High Point Panthers plated two runs in the seventh and three in the eighth for an 11-8 victory over the Flames in game one of a doubleheader, Thursday at Coy O. Willard Stadium.
The Panthers jumped out to a 6-0 advantage through the first four innings of the Big South Conference contest, only to see the Flames score three times in the fifth and five times in the sixth to take an 8-6 lead. But, High Point recovered to tie the contest at 8-8 in the seventh and take the lead with three runs in the eighth. A two-run home run by second baseman Hunter Lee, who had two hits and four RBI in the contest, broke the tie in the eighth.
Liberty first baseman Andrew Yacyk collected his team-leading eighth three-hit game of the season. Yacyk hit his seventh home run of the year, a two-run shot, to break a 6-6 tie in the fifth. He drove in three runs in the game. It is his ninth game of the season and his third in his last four games with three or more RBI.
Flames designated hitter Josh Latta also had three hits. He had a RBI and scored a run.
Liberty falls to 10-12 in Big South play and 26-27 overall. High Point improves to 14-8 in the conference and 31-20 overall.
The Panthers staked themselves to a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the first inning. Right fielder Austen Zente walked and left fielder Tim Mansfield was hit by a pitch to open the frame. Shortstop Chris Clare followed with a single back through the center of the infield to plate Zente for a 1-0 edge. Two batters later, second baseman Hunter Lee lifted a run-scoring sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.
High Point extended its advantage in the third. With one out, Mansfield walked. Two batters later, third baseman Dominic Fazio walked. Lee followed with a two-out single to score Mansfield for a 3-0 edge. First baseman Carson Jackson then singled, plating two more runs to build a 5-0 lead.
The Panthers’ center fielder, Josh Greene, added to the home team’s lead in the fourth. Greene opened the inning with his fourth home run of the season, giving High Point a 6-0 advantage.
Liberty broke through for three runs in the top of the fifth. Designated hitter Josh Latta led off the inning with a single. Third baseman Eric Grabowski was then hit by a pitch and center fielder Jack Morris walked to load the bases. Left fielder D.J. Artis followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Latta with the Flames’ first run of the contest. Two batters later, Yacyk dropped a single into right field to plate another run, cutting the Panthers’ lead to 6-2. A deep fly out to center field followed, scoring Morris and slicing the High Point edge to three at 6-3.
The Flames followed their three-run fifth with five runs in the sixth to take the lead. Catcher Payton Scarbrough doubled into the left field corner to open the inning and scored on a single by Latta, trimming the High Point lead to 6-4.
After a High Point pitching change, Grabowski singled and center fielder Jack Morris reached on a fielder’s choice. With one away, both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Artis then plated Grabowski with a RBI single and right fielder Will Shepherd lifted a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 6-6. Yacyk followed with a two-run blast over the right-center field fence for an 8-6 lead.
After seeing Liberty score eight unanswered runs, High Point tied the game in the seventh. With one out, designated hitter Zach Vandergrift and Greene hit back-to-back singles. Both runners then moved into scoring position on a ground out and scored on a two-out single by Zente, knotting the game at 8-8.
The Panthers scored three in the eighth to take back the lead. With one out, Fazio reached on a throwing error by Liberty shortstop Britt and was aboard on Lee’s third home run of the season. Later in the inning, Luke Parker, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the seventh, walked with two outs and scored on a single by Greene, his second RBI of the game, for what proved to be the final score of 11-8.
In the ninth, Scarbrough singled with one out, his second hit of the contest, but High Point reliever Tyler Britton retired the next two batters to close out the victory.
Liberty reliever Zander Clouse falls to 4-3 on the year. He gave up three runs on two hits. The right-hander walked one.
The Flames used five pitchers in the contest, combining to strike out one and walk seven.
High Point right-hander Britton moves to 6-1. He allowed three runs on six hits over four innings of relief. He struck out five and walked one.
Liberty collected 15 hits. High Point had 11. The Flames committed three errors, while the Panthers made two.
Grabowski’s 4-RBI game paces Liberty to 11-10 Game 2 win over High Point
Third baseman Eric Grabowski had three hits and four RBI, helping the Liberty Flames edge the High Point Panthers, 11-10, in game two of a doubleheader, Thursday evening at Coy O. Willard Stadium.
With the victory, the Flames split the Big South Conference doubleheader with the Panthers. High Point took the first game, 11-8.
For the second time in three games, Grabowski collected three hits and drove in four or more runs in a contest. This past Sunday, third baseman drove in seven runs with three hits in a 14-8 win over Radford.
After High Point tied the game with five runs in the bottom of the seventh, Liberty scored what proved to be the winning run in the top of the eighth on a fielder’s choice ground out by second baseman Andrew Kowalo.
Right-hander Jordan Scott pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings to record his first save in a Liberty uniform. The Panthers moved the tying run to second in the ninth with two outs, before Scott retired center fielder Josh Greene on a fly out to seal the Flames victory.
Liberty moves to 11-12 in Big South play and 27-27 overall. The Flames have won four of their last five games. High Point drops to 14-9 in conference and 31-12 overall.
Liberty left fielder D.J. Artis gave the Flames a 1-0 edge in the first. Artis led off the game ripping a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for an early advantage.
High Point went in front during the second on a home run of its own. With one out, second baseman Hunter Lee and pitcher Carson Jackson both walked. First baseman Zach Vandergrift followed with his second home run of the year for a 3-1 advantage.
The Flames tied the contest in the fourth. Liberty loaded the bases to open the inning. Kowalo and designated hitter Sammy Taormina singled and catcher Josh Latta was hit by a pitch to fill the bases with Flames. A single by Grabowski plated Kowalo, cutting the Panthers’ lead to one at 3-2. After center fielder Jack Morris walked to load the bases again, Artis lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Latta to tie the game at 3-3.
Liberty struck for three runs to take the lead in the top of the sixth, benefitting from three High Point miscues. Taormina walked and moved to second when Latta reached on a fielding error by Panthers shortstop Chris Clare. Grabowski followed with his second RBI single for a 4-3 edge.
After Latta was thrown out at home on a grounder by Morris, a wild pitch allowed Grabowski and Morris to move into scoring position. Morris then got caught in a rundown between second and third base on ground out by Artis, allowing Grabowski to beat a throw home from High Point shortstop Clare, upping Liberty’s advantage to 5-3. A throwing error by Panthers second baseman Hunter on a two-out grounder by right fielder Will Shepherd allowed Morris to plate the third run of the frame, pushing the Flames’ advantage to 6-3.
In the bottom of the inning, High Point cut the Liberty’s edge to one. Third baseman Dominic Fazio walked to open the home half of the seventh. Lee, who hit a home run in game one, followed with his fourth home run of the year over the right field wall, trimming the Flames’ lead to 6-5.
Liberty extended its advantage with four runs in the seventh. Shortstop Dalton Britt led off the inning by ripping a liner down the right field line and into the corner for a double. Kowalo was then hit by a pitch. Taormina followed with a run-producing single to make it, 7-5 Flames.
After a sacrifice bunt by Latta moved both runners into scoring position, Grabowski bounced a single through the middle of the diamond, plating two runs for a 9-5 advantage. Two batters later, a fielding error by Panthers second baseman Lee on grounder by Artis, allowed Grabowski to score for a 10-5 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, High Point tied the contest. A throwing error by Liberty shortstop Britt and back-to-back singles by right fielder Austin Zente and left fielder Conner Dunbar loaded the bases. Two batters later, Fazio and Lee each drew walks to force in runs to cut the host team’s deficit to three at 10-7. Jackson, now the designated hitter, lined a double into the right-center field gap, clearing the bases and tying the game at 10-10.
Liberty went back on top in the eighth. First baseman Andrew Yacyk led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third on a fielding error by Panthers second baseman Lee, his third of the contest, on a grounder by Britt. Kowalo followed with run-scoring fielder’s choice ground out, giving the Flames an 11-10 edge.
Reliever Cody Gamble, the third Flames pitcher in the game, picks up his first victory at Liberty, evening his record at 1-1. He allowed one run on one hit over 2/3 of an inning. He walked one.
The Flames used four pitchers in the contest, who combined to strike out 13 Panthers.
High Point reliever Brian McKee drops to 0-1. The sixth Panther to pitch in the game, he gave up two runs on one hits over 2/3 of an inning. He walked one.
High Point used seven pitchers in the game.
Liberty out-hit High Point, 11-10. Liberty committed two errors in the contest. High Point tied a season-high with six miscues.
The Flames and Panthers will wrap-up their three-game series and the regular season, tomorrow. Game time has been moved up to noon.