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Liberty Wins Slugfest, 13-10

March 20, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Second baseman Tommy Bussey was one of six Flames with two hits in victory Thursday.

Second baseman Tommy Bussey was one of six Flames with two hits in victory Thursday.

The Liberty Flames took the lead with five runs in the first inning and never looked back, defeating the Columbia Lions in a slugfest, 13-10, Thursday afternoon at Lynchburg City Stadium.

With the victory in the first-ever meeting between the two programs on the baseball diamond, Liberty moves to 10-7 on the year and halts a four-game losing streak. Columbia falls to 2-12 on the season, after dropping the opening contest of the four-game series.

After the Lions took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on an unearned run, Liberty batted around in the bottom of the stanza to take a 5-1 edge. Leadoff hitter Tim Rotola (Jr., CF, Wichita, Kan.) doubled and scored on a single by Tommy Bussey (Jr., 2B, Boyton Beach, Fla.) to get things started for the Flames in the frame. Liberty added four more runs in the inning, on four consecutive two-out RBI singles by Garrett Young (Sr., DH, Fountain Valley, Calif.), Jeff Jefferson (Fr., RF, Danville, Va.), Errol Hollinger (Jr., C, Upland, Calif.) and Aaron Phillips (Sr., SS, Claremore, Okla.), to grab a 5-1 advantage.

Columbia closed the gap to 5-4 in the top of the second inning. The Lions plated all three runs with two outs, on a two-run single by Henry Perkins and a double by Mike Williams. In the bottom of the inning, Liberty pushed across a solo run to up its lead to 6-4. Doug Bream (Fr., LF, Elizabethtown, Pa.), who singled with one out, scored on an error by Lions second baseman Perkins.

The Flames extended their lead with five runs in the third inning, which featured five doubles. Jefferson, Hollinger and Phillips began the frame with three-straight two-baggers for two runs. Four batters later, Cody Brown (Jr., 3B, Boca Raton, Fla.) doubled to plate Phillips and Bream, who had reached on a free pass. Brown moved to third on a throw to home plate and score on a throwing error by the Columbia catcher Dean Forthun, giving Liberty an 11-4 edge. The next batter David Giammaresi (Sr., 1B/3B, Coral Springs, Fla.) ripped the fifth double of the inning, before being stranded.

The Lions once again cut their deficit in the fifth frame with four runs. A RBI single by Alex Ferrera brought home the first run of the inning for Columbia. Later in the stanza, Williams singled to center to score two more runs, slicing the Liberty lead to 11-8.

The Lions made it, 11-9, with a single run in the top half of the sixth. However, Liberty chased across two runs in the home half of the inning to up their advantage to 13-9. Pinch hitter Aaron Grijalva (Sr., 1B, Redlands, Calif.) split the center fielder and the right fielder with a double to the wall to open the sixth inning for the Flames. After the next two batters were retired, Hollinger and Phillips each were hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rotola then lined a two-run single to right to add to the Liberty lead.

In the ninth, Columbia scored a run for the final score of 13-10. Not only did the teams combine to plate 23 runs in the contest, but also combined for 33 hits.

Liberty's Tyler Light (Jr., RHP, San Bernardino, Calif.) moves to 1-0 on the year with 3 1/3 innings of relief. The right-hander yielded one run on two hits and struck out three. Columbia starter Joe Scarlata drops to 0-4 on the season. The Lions' right-hander gave up 11 runs on 13 hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Six Flames had two hits each for Liberty. Rotola, Bussey, Giammaresi, Jefferson, Hollinger and Phillips had two hits apiece, as all 11 Liberty players who batted had a hit in the contest. Lions center fielder Nick Cox had four hits in the game, while teammates Williams and Ferrera had three hits apiece.

Liberty will host Columbia in a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon at Lynchburg City Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for Noon.