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Flames Edged by Broncs, 5-4

March 1, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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P.K. Keller had two doubles and scored twice Saturday.

P.K. Keller had two doubles and scored twice Saturday.

Trailing 5-1 after five innings, the Liberty Flames rallied, but came up short, falling to the Rider Broncs, 5-4, Saturday afternoon at Worthington Stadium, in the middle contest of a three-game weekend series.

With its first setback of the 2008 campaign, Liberty drops to 5-1 on the year. Rider improves to 4-1 on the season.

The host Flames jumped on the scoreboard first, plating a run in their first at bat of the game. With the bases loaded and two outs, left fielder Doug Bream (Fr., Elizabethtown, Pa.) lined a single to right field to score Kenneth Negron (Jr., Kingwood, Texas) with the contest's first run, staking Liberty to a 1-0 lead.

Rider struck back in the second inning. With two outs, left fielder Maurice Williams and designated hitter David Hayes kept the inning alive with back-to-back singles. After a balk moved the runners to second and third base, shortstop John Ralston singled to bring home both runners and give the Broncs a 2-1 advantage.

Rider added to its edge with a single run in the third, cashing in on a two-out error by the Flames and an infield RBI single by third baseman Mason Heyne.

In the fourth inning, the Broncs upped their lead to 5-1 with two more tallies. James Hayes singled home the first Rider run of the frame and later scored on a double to right-center field by Steve Galella.

Liberty plated a run in the sixth to cut the Broncs' edge to 5-2. Right fielder P.K. Keller (Sr., Clearwater, Fla.) doubled to the gap in right-center field and later scored on a RBI ground out by shortstop Aaron Phillips (Sr., Claremore, Okla.).

In the seventh frame, the Flames once again pushed across a run. With two outs, Keller hit his second double of the afternoon. After he advanced to third on a wild pitch, Bream singled home the Liberty right fielder to make it 5-3, Rider.

The Flames trimmed the deficit to 5-4, but could not get the equalizer in the eighth inning. With runners on first and second base and no one out, Negron singled through the left side of the infield to slice the Liberty deficit to one at 5-4. After a sacrifice bunt by Errol Hollinger (Jr., C, Upland, Calif.) moved the Liberty base runners into scoring position, Rider reliever Dan Sasso retired the next two batters to get out of the jam.

Liberty starter Ryan Page (Sr., LHP, Cranberry Twp., Pa.) took the loss to fall to 0-1 on the year. The left-hander allowed five runs, four earned, on eight hits over four innings of work. Rider starter Jimmer Kennedy picked up the win, moving to 1-0 on the season, yielding two runs on eight hits. James Hayes pitched a scoreless ninth frame to record his first save of the season.

Bream paced the Flames at the plate with three hits and drove in two runs, while teammates Negron, Hollinger and David Giammaresi (Sr., 3B, Coral Springs, Fla.) had two hits apiece. The Broncs had five hitters with two hits each in the contest.

Rider and Liberty will play the rubber match of their three-game series tomorrow afternoon at Worthington Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.