Apr 21, 2009

Flames baseball rolls Winthrop in mid-season three-game sweep

by Axel Cerny

The Flames baseball team is moving down the stretch of its final month of games before tournament play, and as the sun beats down a little stronger overhead, the Liberty men continue to beat down their opposition much more often than not. This past week, Liberty played all four of its games at home, three of which included a series sweep of Big South rival Winthrop Eagles.

On Tuesday, though, Old Dominion came to Worthington Stadium and completed a season sweep of the Flames after the Monarchs won the first meeting of the clubs 2-1 in Norfolk, Va., earlier this year.

Tuesday’s game seemed to be a pitcher’s duel for the first three innings, before Old Dominion put its first run across in the fourth and then exploded for four more in the fifth inning off freshman starter Chris McDougal. The Monarch’s first run came on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice and their four-run fifth was fueled by a three-run homer off the bat of third baseman Jake McAloose.

The Flames would tally their first run in the seventh on designated hitter Cody Brown’s third round-tripper of season, but the Monarchs would push a run across in the eighth and ninth to secure a 7-2 win. McDougal fell to 1-1 on the season with loss, while Old Dominion’s starter Chris Boggs moved to a perfect 4-0 on the year.

One highlight did come from the loss for the Flames, however, as in the bottom of the first inning Liberty outfielder Curran Redal lined a single to right, tying the Big South hit streak record. The center fielder had at least one base hit for 31-straight games, tying the previous mark set last year by UNC Asheville’s Kevin Weidenbacher.

Friday night’s series opener against Winthrop under the lights set the tone for the rest of the weekend against the Eagles. Though the Flames found themselves down by one after Eagle’s designated hitter Eddie Rohan hit his 11th home run of the year in the top of the first, Liberty answered with a record-breaking bottom of the frame. After shortstop Matt Williams singled to lead off the games, Redal followed with a single through the left side of the infield that moved his hit streak to 32 games, a new Big South record. The Flames put three across in the inning on run-scoring singles from two freshman, third baseman Tyler Bream and left fielder John Long.

Winthrop scored three more in the second, but Liberty would answer in the bottom of the frame with three of its own and one more in fifth as first baseman Trey Wimmer hit his fifth homer of the season. Liberty starter Steven Evans runs his record to 6-2 on the year, while Wade Newman of the Eagles falls to 4-2.

Saturday afternoon was probably the most sun Lynchburg has seen to date this year. The evening cooled down a bit, providing the type of environment Ernie Banks was thinking of when he made his famous statement, “Let’s play two,” and play two they would. The Worthington Stadium stands were packed with many donning sunglasses and enjoying hot dogs and cold soda, while taking in game one of the double dip.

Once again, Winthrop struck first, in the second inning, and added another run in the third on a single by shortstop Kevin Nolan. The Flames came roaring back in the bottom of the third with four runs on a Matt Williams double, a single up the middle from catcher Errol Hollinger and a two-run homer off the bat of designated hitter Cody Brown.

Liberty would add one more security run on Tyler Bream’s seventh home run of the year, a solo shot. Winthrop would score another single run in the seventh, but that would not be enough as the Flames clung with a 5-3 advantage.

Liberty starter Shawn Teufel settled down after giving up the two early runs. He runs his record to 6-1 on the year, while the Eagles Robert Lake fell to 4-3.

Many fans stuck around for the night cap, as the Flames looked to sweep the series against Winthrop. In the top of the second, right fielder Doug Bream robbed a home run from shortstop Aaron Bonami of the Eagles by reaching over the right field wall and making the grab.

The Flames used the momentum to put across four runs in the bottom of the frame on a single by Trey Wimmer and a three-run homer by second baseman P.J. Jimenez.

The Eagles scored their first two runs of the game in the seventh and three more in the eighth, but Liberty countered with three runs of their own in each of those innings, securing a 10-5 victory and a three-game sweep of the Winthrop Eagles.

Jimenez had four RBI’s in contest, and Cody Brown got the win for Liberty tossing three scoreless innings for the Flames in relief to improve his even his record at 2-2. Winthrop starter Ken
Monteith takes the loss to drop to 3-2 on the season.

Liberty finished its seven game home stand with a 5-2 record, that moves them to 26-12 overall and 14-3 in the Big South, good for first place. The Flames will travel to Farmville, Va. on Tuesday to battle the Longwood Lancers.

Contact Axel Cerny at
acerny@liberty.edu.

 

 


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