With their win over Little Elm the previous Friday, Prosper inserted itself back into the thick of the district 9-4A playoff hunt. The Eagles aspirations may be more ambitious now after their 9-0 win over the Liberty Redhawks Tuesday.
Prosper (10-9 overall, 3-3 district 9-4A) sent their TCU-bound senior ace Brandon Gilson to the mound against another future NCAA division 1 hurler, Redhawks starter and BYU signee Hayden Parker. Winners of their first five league games and allowing six total runs in the process, Liberty (12-4-2 overall, 5-1 9-4A) rode a five-game winning streak that carried them to a number 11 4A state ranking.
Prosper took a quick lead, taking advantage of a throwing error that followed the first of senior Brandon Grudzielanek’s four singles in the game. After singling with one out in the first Grudzielanek trucked to third on the error and was immediately plated on a sacrifice fly by junior Tyler Webb. It was an unearned run, but there would be plenty of earned runs to come for the Eagles.
Leading 1-0 before he threw a single pitch, Gilson set the tone for the game by striking out the first two Liberty hitters. Hayden Parker then singled, but he was wiped out after Gilson guessed correctly and threw to first to catch Parker as he left for second. The Redhawk run game accumulated 114 stolen bases heading into the game, but Gilson negated their aggressive running by picking off two runners on the night.
Prosper carried their 1-0 lead into the third where they would take full control of the game. Junior Blaine Moore led off the inning by drawing his first walk of the season. Number nine hitter Jake Kiedinger, in his third at-bat of the season, laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Moore into scoring position. Brandon Grudzielanek delivered a two-out RBI single to send Moore home and make the score 2-0. Tyler Webb would then make it two RBI in as many plate appearances with a double to push the Eagle lead to 3-0.
The Eagles scored six more runs in the game, four coming in the seventh inning. The big hit in the final frame came from pinch hitter Dean Smith. With two outs and the bases loaded Smith blasted a double to the left field wall scoring all three runners and giving their Eagles their final lead of 9-0. Brandon Grudzielanek was the offensive leader for the Eagles finishing 4 for 4 with two RBI, four runs scored and a stolen base.
Along with the offense’s ability to piece together the big inning, the key to the win was Brandon Gilson’s domination of a Redhawk team that entered the game with a team batting average of .330 and scoring over six runs per game. Gilson would enter the seventh inning with a 9-0 lead, but he was removed after 6 1/3 innings. Jace Vines finished his second straight game to secure the shutout. Gilson picked up the win to move to 3-2. He finished allowing two hits, walking one and striking out twelve.
Prosper also played Frisco last week and lost 7-6. The loss put the Eagles at 3-4 in district play with half of the district schedule finished.