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Grijalva's Two-Out Triple Begins Eight-Run Uprising in 14-6 Win Over Manhattan
Grijalva (R-Jr., 1B, Redlands, Calif.) went 4-for-5 with five RBI and two runs scored in helping Liberty move to 9-4 on the season. With the win, the Flames take the series, two games to one. Manhattan drops to 1-5.
Tied 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth, Liberty scored all of its runs with two outs. After the first two Flames were retired, Patrick Gaillard (Sr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) doubled to right field to keep the inning alive. Garrett Young (Jr., CF, Fountain Valley, Calif.) and Tim Nanry (Sr., DH, Rochester, N.Y.) each walked to load the bases. Grijalva then sent a liner off the bottom of the wall in right center field for a triple to clear the bases and give the Flames their third lead of the afternoon. David Giammaresi (R-Jr., 3B, Coral Springs, Fla.) followed with a double down the right field line to plate Grijalva. A single by Phil John (Sr., RF, Linwood, N.J.) scored Giammaresi for a 11-6 lead, chasing Jasper reliever Jeremy Shaw.
Tommy Bussey (So., 2B, Boynton Beach, Fla.) greeted new pitcher Brian Pendergast with a single to right field, advancing John to second base. Nate Thompson (R-Fr., C, Stoneville, N.C.) then blasted his first home run of the year, a three-run shot, over the left field wall to put the Flames up, 14-6. The Flames had eight-straight batters reach safely on six hits and two walks with two outs in the inning.
The visiting Jaspers took advantage of a Liberty miscue to take a 1-0 lead to open the contest. Right fielder Keith Nieto reached on a fielding error by the Flames' second baseman, stole second and advanced to third on a ground out by center fielder Mike Garcia. With two out, first baseman Matt Rizzotti then singled home Nieto with the first run of the game.
In the second, Manhattan returned the favor as Liberty turned two Jasper errors into runs. Nanry reached to lead off the home half of the frame on a fielding error by the third baseman. The next Flames' hitter also reached when a fly ball by Grijalva was dropped by the center fielder for a two-base error, placing runners on second and third. Nanry then scored Liberty's first run of the afternoon on a RBI ground out by Giammaresi. Two batters later, Grijalva gave the Flames a 2-1 edge, scoring on an infield single by Bussey.
The score went to 3-2, Liberty in the third inning as both teams traded runs. Nieto led off the stanza with a double and scored on a two-out single by third baseman Dom Lombardi in the Manhattan third. Young doubled to left center with one out and beat the throw to home plate on a Grijalva single in the Liberty third.
The Jaspers took a 4-3 lead in the back-and-forth contest with two runs in the sixth. Catcher Nick Derba singled to open the inning and advanced to third on a one-out double by pinch hitter Marc Giordano. After the next batter struck out, shortstop Rene Ruiz sent a liner into the right-center field gap for a two-base hit, chasing home both runners and putting Manhattan back on top.
Manhattan added one to its margin in the seventh. With one out, the Jaspers loaded the bases and scored on a fielder's choice. However, reliever Ryan Page (Jr., LHP, Cranberry Twp., Pa.) got out of the inning without further damage by striking out Giordano, who had assumed the designated hitter role.
In the bottom of the inning, the Flames took their second lead of the contest. Kenneth Negron (So., LF, Kingwood, Texas) singled and both Gaillard and Young walked to begin the one-out rally. Negron scored on a sacrifice fly by Nanry to make it a one run game, 5-4 Manhattan. Gaillard tied the contest at 5-5 on a single by Grijalva, and Giammaresi put Liberty ahead, 6-5, with a run-scoring single.
The Jaspers knotted the game at 6-6 in the top of the eighth. Second baseman Ryan Masters singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a single by left fielder Eric Nieto moved Masters to third, a sacrifice fly by Keith Nieto tied the game and set up the bottom of the inning eight-run Liberty outburst.
Flames' starter Tyler Light (So., RHP, San Bernardino, Calif.) went 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, while striking out four and walking two. Page entered in the sixth inning and allowed three runs on six hits in picking up his first victory of the season for a 1-0 mark. The left-hander struck out five and also walked two. Manhattan reliever Shaw was roughed up for six runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings to fall to 0-1 on the year. He walked three hitters and struck out one.
Along with Grijalva, three other Flames had multiple hits in the game as Giammaresi, who also knocked in three runs, Negron and Bussey totaled two hits apiece. Four players ended up with two hits apiece for the Jaspers.
Liberty hits the road for a midweek contest on Tuesday in Norfolk, Va., as the Flames will square off with the Monarchs of Old Dominion. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.