CLINTON, S.C. - Presbyterian College baseball stranded a late equalizing run only ninety feet from home to end the game as Liberty squeezed out an 8-7 win over the Blue Hose on Friday afternoon. PC scored three in the final frame but couldn't bring the tying run in to extend the game. The teams will go back at it at 11:00 a.m. for a Saturday doubleheader in order to beat predicted inclement weather.
Neither starting pitcher lasted long as Liberty's Keegan Linza went just a third of an inning before being ousted. PC's Joe Hammond lasted an inning and a third before being replaced by Andrew Foushee.
Liberty (27-11, 10-3 BSC) was first to strike with two runs in the first inning. However, the Blue Hose (11-26, 3-10 BSC) would bounce back to score four in the bottom of the first and take a 4-2 lead into the second inning.
An inning opening walk to Gabe Grammer put him on first, while another walk to Kenny Bryant put runners on first and second with one out. Tony Micklon drove in the first run with a single to left. Nate Horton's double to left brought in Bryant to tie the game at 2-2. The next batter, Aaron Preston walked to load the bases before Ryan Morris was walked to bring in the third run of the game. That spelt the end for Linza's outing. Jesse Harmon hit a routine grounder to the Liberty shortstop which was booted to allow the runners to move up a base and for Horton to score.
The Flames would cash in for four runs in the second to go back up by two runs.
On the mound, Liberty's Dane Beakler went into cruise control working the next six and two-thirds scoreless. He allowed six hits and struck out 15 of the 20 outs he recorded. At the same time, Liberty would string the lead out to 8-4 with single runs in the fourth and seventh innings.
Down to their last three outs and four runs behind, the Blue Hose needed a major offensive resurgence. The table was set when Horton was hit by a pitch and Carl Della Torre was walked to put runners on first and second with no outs. Alex Loftin drove in the first run with a single through the left side while Harmon brought the second in with a single through the right side and put runners on first and third. Matt Hill brought in Della Torre with a sacrifice fly which moved Harmon over to second. The second out came to the next batter when Grammer flied out to right field, allowing Harmon to move to third base. Mack Hite, however, was not able to bring the tying run in as he grounded to second base to end the game.
Andrew Foushee tossed a solid seven and two-thirds of relief ball to hold Liberty to just two runs down the stretch. He allowed 10 hits and struck out four in his outing.
Hammond was credited with the loss to fall to 0-5 on the season. Liberty's reliever, Beakler, took the win to improve to 4-2 overall this year.
The teams will return to the diamond on Saturday morning with an 11:00 a.m. doubleheader. The games are a schedule alteration which was made due to impending inclement weather. The parents of the team will be hosting a concession stand at the game with food to get all fans through the lunchtime hours.