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Hollinger's Slam Sinks Pirates, 6-2, in Season Opener
With the victory, Liberty has won three-straight season openers and moves to 1-0 on the year. East Carolina falls 0-1.
After a scoreless first inning, Liberty jumped out on top in the contest on Hollinger's (So., C, Upland, Calif.)grand slam in the top of the second. Aaron Phillips (Jr., 3B, Claremore, Okla.)and Garrett Young (Jr., CF, Fountain Valley, Calif.)singled to open the frame and P.K. Keller (Jr., RF, Clearwater, Fla.)walked to load the bases. Hollinger then followed with a blast over the left field wall to put the Flames in front, 4-0.
East Carolina cut the Liberty lead to 4-2 in the host half of the third inning. After a ground out to third to begin the frame, second baseman Drew Schieber put the Pirates on the board with a solo home run to left. Harrison Eldridge followed with a single and moved to second on a passed ball. The center fielder then scored an unearned run on a RBI single by shortstop Dale Mollenhauer.
The Flames extended their advantage with single runs in the fourth and fifth frames. In the fourth, designated hitter Aaron Grijalva (R-Jr., Redlands, Calif.)drew a bases loaded, two-out walk to force in a run and chase East Carolina starter T.J. Hose out of the game. In the sixth, Young hit a solo shot to left, his first in a Liberty uniform, to put Liberty up, 6-2.
Flames' starter Michael Solbach (R-Jr., Woodbridge, Va.)pitched four innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He was relieved by Light (So., RHP, San Bernardino, Calif.) (1-0), who picked up the win with five strong innings of work. The right-hander allowed only one hit and struck four. Hose (0-1) took the loss for the Pirates.
Young got his Liberty career off to a good start by going 3-for-5 in the game with a home run to pace the Flames' 13-hit attack. Four other Liberty players had two hits in the game. No East Carolina players had more than one hit in the game.
The Flames and Pirates will square off again tomorrow afternoon in the middle game of the season-opening three-game series. Game time at Clark-LeClair Stadium is scheduled for 2 p.m.