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Indians victory jams Big 10 race

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

BRIDGEPORT -- Get Mike Honce in a jam and he battles back. Give him a lead and the Bridgeport Indians become hard to beat.

Honce pitched a complete game, striking out 10 and giving up just four hits, as the Indians (13-7, 8-2 Big 10) rallied from an early deficit to defeat Liberty, 9-4.

"I thought Mike showed a lot of resiliency," Bridgeport coach Robert Shields said. "He was down early, but in the late innings, he got stronger."

It was the junior's third complete game this season, as the victory created a three-way tie for first place in the Big 10. Bridgeport, Liberty and Robert C. Byrd all have two conference losses.

"We had a lot of questions, but I think we're starting to answer them now," Shields said. "I think the kids are starting to get into baseball mode."

Liberty (11-4, 5-2) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second on a pair of throwing errors. The Indians answered in the bottom of the inning, scoring five runs. Chris Lindsey and Bobby Oliverio drove in the first two runs, and Honce drilled a two-run single to right. An RBI single by Chris Lindsey and Brandon Brumage's two-run hit in the third put Bridgeport in front 8-3.

John Conch had an RBI single in the fourth for the Mountaineers, but the Indians got the run back in the bottom half.

"For us to answer that second inning was big," Honce said. "Our offense got us back in it, and the defense made the plays behind me. That's all you want as a pitcher."

Honce (4-2) finished the game striking out five of the final six batters he faced, including the side in the seventh.

Chris Liebig and Alan Robbins each had two hits for Bridgeport. Denver Winters was 2-for-2 to lead the Mountaineers.

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at sports@exponent-telegram.com

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