LIBERTY CENTER – Baseball is such a funny game.
On a day when Evergreen seemingly hit rope after rope right at someone, one of the few good swings Liberty Center got off Viking starter Bryce Hudik proved to be the difference when Trent Murdock lofted a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth that gave the Tigers a 5-4 Northwest Ohio Athletic League win Thursday.
The loss dropped the Vikings to 2-2 in the league and 6-8 overall.
The first pitch of the game set the tone for the rest of the day when Mason Henricks ripped a line drive up the middle, and Murdock made a self-defense stab on the mound.
The Tigers picked up a couple of runs in the third.
Connor Sonnenberg drew a walk and then Carter Burdue’s fly ball got into the gusting wind and fell for a triple in left-center to plate the first run.
Murdock’s fly ball into left-center brought Burdue home for the second tally.
After three innings of hard shots right at somebody, the Vikings finally found some gaps in the fourth.
Hudik walked, Jack Krispin lined a single to center, and RJ Shunck walked to load the sacks with one down.
Sam Lubinski’s line drive to left barely eluded Austin Like for an RBI single, then Bryce Eisel rapped a single down the left field line to tie the game.
An error and a ground out pushed across two more runs to give the Vikings a 4-2 lead.
A walk and Shunck’s single put runners on first and third in the fifth, but Lubinski’s bullet was right at Like in left to end that threat.
With a runner on first and two down in the fifth, a walk, a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, and a wild pitch set the stage for Murdock at the plate. On the eighth pitch of his at-bat, the Tigers’ clean-up hitter got a fly ball up that carried over the left field fence to put Liberty up 5-4.
Evergreen had a rally in the sixth when Henricks singled to begin the inning, but again an “at-em” ball bit the Vikings when Collin Loeffler’s rope to left was literally right at Like as the Tiger left fielder didn’t even have to move a step.
That out was amplified when Hudik singled following that play and Murdock got Krispin on a bouncer to the mound to stop that scoring chance.
Murdock battled through a five walk, four strikeout day for the win, throwing 112 pitches.
It wasn’t Hudik’s sharpest day as the lanky senior walked a total of seven, one of those intentionally.
The Vikings host Patrick Henry tonight, travel to Lake on Tuesday, host Ottawa Hills Wednesday, visit Wauseon Thursday, bring in Morenci Friday and go to Stryker on Saturday.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org