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Liberal shuts down Panther baseball in WAC opener
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LIBERAL— Redskin ace Cole Evans pitched six innings allowing four hits and a run to lead Liberal to a 3-1 edging over visiting Great Bend in the first part of Tuesday’s twin bill. The Panthers launched a late-game attack but could not overcome an early deficit and fell to Liberal 8-6 in the second game giving the Redskins the two-game sweep.

“In both games we were in positions to tie the game or take the lead and couldn’t come up with the key hit to get it done but we are right there,” said Panther head coach Randy Beck. “I believe if we subtract a few mistakes defensively and add a few clutch hits at the plate we could be playing with extreme confidence right now.”

In the first contest, Liberal struck early with three unanswered runs over the first two innings. Bryce Lytle opened the Panther sixth with a lead off single before stealing second base. An RBI single by Jaxx Hillman scored Lytle giving Great Bend their only run of the game.

Starter Anson Hall (0-1) shouldered the loss after six innings yielding four of Liberal’s eight hits and allowing all three runs.

Game two saw a hitting battle erupt as the Redskins posted a 10-9 hitting margin over the opposition.

Liberal mounted a 7-0 drive over the first four innings of play. The Panthers relied on solid eye contact with the ball in the fifth walking in three of their four runs in that frame. Peyton Mauler singled to lead off the inning then scored on a walk by Hall. Matt Zecha’s base-on-balls then scored Jaxx Hillman before a wild pitch brought Brady Michel across the plate. The Panthers went through the order as Hall scored again on a walk this time by Jack Westhoff and narrowed the Panther deficit to three trailing 7-4.

Following a one-run Liberal fifth, Lytle would score in the ensuing inning off a sacrifice fly by Shade Wondra. Mauler would close out scoring for the visitors as he doubled in Konnor Ireland in the seventh as the Redskins would go on for the 8-6 win.

Lytle (0-2) was the starter for Great Bend in the second game and was tagged with the loss after pitching three and a third innings giving up seven runs on six hits.

“Anson had his first start of the season and came out and threw strikes and gave us a chance to win the first game,” said Beck. “Unfortunately, we did not give him help with our bats when we had the opportunities. In the first game, we had three base hits by Bryce, Jaxx and Shade which gave us a bid to tie it up or take the lead but we couldn’t come up with the clutch hit to get it done.”

Tuesday’s losses at Liberal drop the Panthers to 1-3 on the season and 0-2 in WAC competition.

Great Bend will close out their six-game road stand on April 14 at Garden City.