Feb 13, 2007
Baseball drops two, wins one against East Carolina Pirates
by Mitchell Malcheff, Sports Reporter
After a somewhat surprising run to the Big South Conference Championship game last season, the Flames baseball team looked to get off to a strong start this year.
A three-game series over the weekend against the East Carolina Pirates started off well for the Flames, who took the first game 6-2.
The Flames were led by sophomore Errol Hollinger’s second-inning grand slam, which gave them a 4-0 lead.
East Carolina scored two of their own in the third, thanks to three hits and a solo homer from Drew Scheiber.
That would be the end of the scoring for the Pirates, but the Flames were not quite done.
Another run came in the fourth courtesy of a bases-loaded walk that chased the Pirates starting pitcher, T.J. Hose.
Junior Garrett Young smashed a solo homer in the fifth that made the score 6-2.
Young, who was playing in his first game for Liberty, set the tempo for the Flames with three hits.
Liberty enjoyed a balanced offensive attack that racked up 13 hits in the game.
Sophomore Tyler Light picked up the win for the Flames. Light pitched five strong innings of relief work, allowing just one hit and no runs.
The Flames offense came out swinging again on Saturday, but the defense could not keep pace, allowing four errors and five unearned runs on the way to a 7-4 loss.
The Flames threatened early, loading the bases with no outs in the first inning.
Despite their offensive explosion, though, they were only able to muster one run in the inning.
After Pirates starter Jeff Ostrander struck out the next two batters before allowing a single by junior P.K. Keller that drove in senior Patrick Gaillard.
A Pirate double in the bottom of the first evened the game up at one.
The Flames then took a 3-1 lead in the third after two straight two out hits.
Sophomore Cody Brown lined a single to left to score Young.
Keller followed it up with a double to right that scored Junior Aaron Phillips.
The fireworks really started in the bottom of the third.
Only one run was scored by the Pirates, but the inning featured a hit by pitch, followed by a double steal and an infield single that scored shortstop Dale Mollenhauer, and made the score 3-2 in favor of East Carolina.
The Pirates opened up a big lead in the top of the fourth, thanks in large part to the sloppy Liberty defense.
Right fielder Jamie Ray led off the inning with a single and later scored on a passed ball after advancing to third on a wild pitch.
After an RBI single from Ryan Housley, the Pirates stretched the score to 6-3 on a wild throw to third base in a failed pick-off attempt.
The Flames picked up another run in the seventh and loaded the bases in the eighth, but Pirate closer Shane Matthews got out of the jam and protected the lead for the Pirates.
East Carolina picked up another unearned run in the bottom of the eighth, making the final score 7-4.
Sophomore Dustin Umberger took the loss for the Flames, allowing six runs, only three of which were earned.
The smoking-hot bats that gave the Flames a win on Friday and kept them in the game on Saturday were absent Sunday as Liberty fell to the Pirates 11-2.
East Carolina surged ahead in the sixth inning thanks to seven runs, including a grand slam by Mollen-hauer.
The loss moves Liberty to 1-2 on the young season while the Pirates improved to 2-1. Junior David Stokes had a solid game despite picking up the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The Flames head to South Carolina on Friday to take on the third-ranked team in the country, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
The game will kick off the three-day Citadel Shootout.
Contact Mitchell Malcheff at email@example.com.
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