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Big third gives Devils big win
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    A six-run third inning was more than enough for Statesboro, beating visiting Liberty County 6-1 Tuesday at Mill Creek in a non-region contest.
    The Blue Devils (7-9) scored off four hits, three errors and a walk to put LCHS away. Carlton Hendrix delivered the big blow — a bases-clearing triple into the right-field corner to give SHS a 6-0 lead.
    “I was thinking, ‘Just try and get a big hit — get some runs on the board’” said Hendrix. “We’d be leaving a lot of runners on. I was just trying to get a job done.”
    Holding a 3-0 lead with two outs, Hendrix took an 0-1 fastball on the outer-half of the plate and slinged it into right. Liberty’s Justin Eaton dove, but the ball tailed away from his glove and skipped to the wall.
    “Their outfielder was shaded to pull a little bit and I just knew something was about to happen (out there),” said SHS coach Chris Bishop.
    Statesboro used seven pitchers to shut down the Panthers (8-3). With a doubleheader looming on Thursday, Bishop said using that many arms was unconventional, but hopes it will work out in the long run.
    “We’ve been milling over what we’re going to do when we get to that best two-out-of-three game series,” said Bishop. “We just said, ‘We’ll run every pitcher out there for an inning and treat this game as Game One’, then Blessed Trinity (Thursday at 5:30 p.m.) will be Game Two and Jenkins (Thursday at 8 p.m.) will be Game Three. Plus, recently when we’ve run “other pitchers” out there we’ve got a whole lot of offensive support.”
    Freshman Trey Robinson got the start, pitching two scoreless innings and allowing just one hit. Both he and his counterpart Paul Davis stranded the bases loaded in the first inning.
    Todd Cone (IP), Aaron Cone (1⁄3 IP), Josh Blakely (2⁄3 IP), Josh Ware (IP), Tony Hill (IP) and Crawford Simmons (IP) all came on in relief to preserve the win.
    Hill started off the third with a hustle double down the line in left. He then stole third on the fourth ball to catcher Scott Sarratt. Courtesy Runner Zach Taylor stole second, Hill scored on the throw down and Taylor moved to third when the ball kicked into center.
    Luke Connell hit a grounder to short in an 8-pitch at-bat to make it 2-0. Aaron Cone singled to right, Alex Brown reached on an error and Brandon Wilson hit one between short and third to make it 3-0.
    Statesboro swept the season series with Liberty having won in extra innings on March 14. The Panthers had won five straight coming in.
    The Devils’ doubleheader Thursday will be played at Georgia Southern’s J.I. Clements Stadium.

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.