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Flames Take Home Opener, 12-2
Shortstop Matt Williams had four hits, while designated hitter Justin Sizemore hit a home run and drove in four runs, helping to power the Liberty Flames past the Binghamton Bearcats, 12-2, Friday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.
With the win, the Flames move to 4-6 on the season. Binghamton drops to 1-4 on the year. In addition, Liberty runs its record to 28-5 at Worthington Stadium in home openers since the facility opened in 1979.
The visiting Bearcats took a short-lived advantage in the top of the first inning. With one out, catcher C.J. Lukaszewski reached on an infield single and advanced to second base, when first baseman Dave Ciocchi drew a base on balls. After the next batter popped out, left fielder Jeff Skelhorne-Gross singled to shallow right field. Lukaszewski attempted to score on the hit and was beat to home plate by the throw from Liberty right fielder Michael Robertson. However, Flame catcher Casey Rasmus dropped the throw, allowing runner to score for a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Liberty countered with two runs to go in front on the scoreboard, 2-1. Center fielder Ian Parmley opened the home half of the first inning with a single. Williams followed with a triple to the bottom of the right-center field wall, bringing home Parmely to quickly tie the game at 1-1. Williams then made it, 2-1, by scoring on a RBI grounder by third baseman Tyler Bream.
Binghamton knotted the contest in the top of the fourth inning. A two-out single by Lukaszewski plated second baseman Daniel Nevares, who had singled earlier, to tie the game at 2-2.
However, Sizemore put the Flames back on top in the bottom of the inning. The Liberty designated hitter ripped a home run over the right-center field wall, the deepest part of Worthington Stadium, with Rasmus aboard. The round tripper was the first of the year for the sophomore, giving the Flames a 4-2 edge. Rasmus had opened the inning with a single.
Liberty extended its lead to 6-2 in the sixth inning. With one out and two men on base, first baseman Austin Taylor lined a double off the left field wall, to plate Sizemore, who had single, with the first run of the frame. Second baseman Dalton Sype followed with a RBI single to score Robertson, to up their lead to 6-2.
The Flames added a run in the seventh. Third baseman Tyler Bream began the inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch, After advancing to third on a single by left fielder Doug Bream, the Liberty third baseman gave head coach Jim Toman's squad a 7-2 advantage, tallying a run on a sacrifice fly by Sizemore.
Liberty sent 11 men to the plate and tacked on five more runs in the bottom of the eighth for the final score of 12-2. Taylor led off the inning with his first home run of the season, a liner into the Flames' bullpen on the other side of the left field wall. Later in the frame, Parmley and Sype both scored on wild pitches, while Sizemore walked and Taylor was hit by pitch with the bases loaded to bring home runs.
Liberty starter Keegan Linza ups his record to 2-0 on the year, allowing two runs on eight hits over eight innings. The right-hander struck out three hitters and walked one. Andy Abrams pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Flames.
Binghamton starter James Giulietti falls to 0-2 on the season. He gave up five runs on 12 hits over five innings. The right-hander, the first of four Bearcat pitchers in the game, struck out one batter.
Besides Williams, seven Flames had at least two hits apiece, as Liberty had 20 hits in the contest. Tyler Bream and Sype each had three hits in the contest.
Lukaszewski had three hits for Binghamton. The Bearcats had nine hits in the game.
Liberty and Binghamton meet again tomorrow afternoon in a doubleheader at Worthington Stadium. The first pitch for game one is scheduled for 1 p.m.