The Liberty Flames erased a three-run deficit with five runs in the sixth inning, en route to a 5-3 victory over the Evansville Purple Aces, Saturday afternoon in game 3 of the Liberty Invitational at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Trailing 3-0 in the sixth, the Flames sent 11 men to the plate, scoring five runs on five hits and an error to take a lead they never relinquished.
Relievers Shane Quarterley and Carson Herndon then combined to shutout the Purple Aces the rest of the way, sealing the 5-3 victory.
Shortstop Dalton Britt and first baseman Sammy Taormina each had two hits and a RBI. Taormina also scored a run in the contest.
Liberty wins its first two games of four this weekend in the Liberty Invitational and improves to 9-6. Evansville sees its seven-game win streak come to an end, falling to 8-5.
The Purple Aces took an early 1-0 advantage in in their first at bats of the contest. Second baseman Trey Hair doubled with one out and moved to third on a wild pitch. A passed ball allowed Hair to score to give the visitors an early edge.
Evansville added to its lead with a run in the fifth. With one out, catcher Boomer Synek was hit by a pitch. Two batters later, right fielder Korbin Williams lined a two-out double into the left field corner, upping the Purple Aces’ advantage to 2-0.
In the top of the sixth, Evansville pushed across another run. The Purple Aces loaded the bases with no outs and scored on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Stewart Nelson for a 3-0 lead. However, Quarterley retired the next two Evansville batters to end the threat.
Liberty erupted in the bottom of the inning. Center fielder D.J. Artis walked to open the inning and scored two batters later, on a double by right fielder Will Shepherd. Two batters later, second baseman Andrew Kowalo and Taormina each singled to plate runs, knotting the contest at 3-3.
Later in the inning, third baseman Eric Grabowski drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Catcher Peyton Scarbrough followed with a single through the left side of the infield, driving in two runs for what proved to be the final score of 5-3.
Quarterley and Herndon then combined to allow just two runners to reach, one on a walk in the seventh and one on a double in the ninth to close out the Liberty victory.
The third Liberty pitcher in the contest, Quarterley moves to 3-0 on the year. He pitched three scoreless innings of relief, not allowing a hit. He struck out one and walked one. Herndon followed with a scoreless ninth to earn his first save of the year.
Evansville reliever Brent Jureka drops to 3-1. He gave up five runs on six hits over three inning. The fourth Purple Aces pitcher of the contest, Jureka struck out three and walked two.
Liberty outhit Evansville, 10-7. Each team left nine men on base.
Liberty will play two games on the final day of the Liberty Invitational, tomorrow. The Flames will play Central Connecticut State, who they defeated 5-1, Friday at noon, followed by a contest against Evansville at approximately 4 p.m.