Liberty Center got only four hits, but took advantage of eight walks, seven in the first three innings, to knock off Evergreen 6-4 in the opener of the ACME baseball season Tuesday.
The visiting Tigers took advantage of two of those base on balls, along with a misplay on what would’ve been an inning-ending rundown, to score three first inning runs off starter Thomas Pollard.
After Austin Like and Cole Zeiter each reached by walk, a balk moved them to second and third where a ground out, then Connor Sonnenberg’s seeing-eye single through the right side made it 2-0.
Sonnenberg stole second, but Pollard caught the Tiger runner between second and third when he stepped off.
However in the ensuing rundown, a dropped throw allowed Sonnenberg to reach third where he scored on a wild pitch to add a third run.
Evergreen answered in the bottom of the inning when Mason Henricks lined a single to center leading off.
After Gabe Hinton struck the next two hitters out, Sam Lubinski roped a single to right to put runners on first and third where Henricks scored on a passed ball to slice the Tiger lead to 3-1.
Liberty Center tacked on two runs in the third after two were out.
Zeiter again drew a walk and went to second on a wild pitch. Jarrett Krugh lobbed a pop fly single into shallow right to plate Zeiter and three straight walks pushed Krugh across to boost the Tiger lead to 5-1.
The Vikes got one back in the bottom half of the third.
Lubinski walked, Bryce Eisel lined a single through the middle, and Pollard’s ground ball scored Lubinski when he beat the throw home from first.
Lubinski took the mound in the fourth and was very effective, allowing just two hits in the four innings.
The Tigers scratched out a run in the fifth when Like walked, stole second, went to third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball.
Evergreen got that one back in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead to 6-3.
Adam Baumgartner drilled a double to left-center, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored when Eisel’s grounder was mishandled for an error.
Evergreen added to the threat when David Carroll singled to left with two out, but Krugh came to the mound in relief and got a strikeout to end the inning.
The Vikings again chopped into the lead in the sixth thanks to some heads-up base-running by Zack Lumbrezer.
The Viking shortstop walked with two down, reached second on a passed ball, then on another passed ball, Lumbrezer rounded third and kept going, sliding safely under Krugh’s swipe tag to get Evergreen within 6-4.
Eisel reached on an infield hit in the seventh before Krugh struck out the side for the save.
Pollard took the loss, giving up four earned runs. Lubinski went the final four innings, allowing an earned run and walking just one.
Hinton was the winner for LC, giving up three runs, all earned, on six hits.
The Vikings travel to Napoleon tonight to play the Wildcats.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org