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Flames Turn Back Bucs in Game One
With the win, Liberty moves to 11-6 in conference play and 24-23 overall. Charleston Southern drops to 4-10 in the Big South and 15-27 overall.
Just as they did in the first game of the series on Saturday afternoon, the Flames plated two runs in the first inning for a 2-0 lead. Kenneth Negron (Jr., 2B, Kingwood, Texas) opened the game with a single to center field, and two batters later, P.K. Keller (Sr., RF, Clearwater, Fla.) singled. Giammaresi (Sr., 1B, Coral Springs, Fla.) followed with a double to push across the first run of the contest. Keller then made it 2-0 Flames, as Cody Brown (Jr., 3B, Boca Raton, Fla.) lifted a sacrifice fly to right field.
In the third inning, Liberty extended its advantage. For the second time in the game, Negron and Keller singled. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Giammaresi then sent a blast to right field, which right fielder Tyler Thornburg reached over the fence and caught, robbing the Liberty first baseman of a home run. Negron scored on the sacrifice fly, giving the Flames advantage to 3-0.
Liberty stretched its lead with two runs in the fourth. Garrett Young (Sr., DH, Fountain Valley, Calif.) put the Flames up, 4-0, leading off the inning. The senior designated hitter ripped a shot past the scoreboard in left field for his fourth round tripper of the year. The next hitter, Aaron Grijalva (Sr., LF, Redlands, Calif.) followed with a double into the left field corner. Grijalva advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Tim Rotola (Jr., CF, Wichita, Ka.) and scored on a single by Aaron Phillips (Sr., SS, Claremore, Okla.) for a 5-0 Liberty edge.
Charleston Southern broke through against Liberty starter Dustin Umberger (Jr., RHP, Hummelstown, Pa.) in the sixth for a run. Catcher Mike Beattie led off the inning with a single and became the first CSU runner to reach second, on a sacrifice bunt by center fielder Brantley Meier. Three batters later, a single by left fielder Steve Antolik brought home Beattie with the first Buccaneer run of the contest.
In the seventh inning, Charleston Southern used back-to-back doubles to cut the Liberty advantage to 5-2. With one out, shortstop Tyler Black doubled to right center field and scored on a double by Thornburg.
Liberty broke open the contest in the ninth. Phillips reached on an error by Buccaneer shortstop Taylor to open the frame. After a sacrifice bunt by Negron advanced the runner to second, Errol Hollinger (Jr., C, Upland, Calif.) ripped a double into the left field corner to plate Phillips. Two batters later, Giammaresi singled with two outs to chase home Hollinger. Brown followed with a single and Young walked to load the bases. Grijalva then connected for a grand slam home run, the first round tripper of the season for senior left fielder. Rotola then reached on a throwing error by first baseman Will Rodriguez. Phillips capped the scoring in the inning with a two-run home run over the left field wall for a 13-2 final margin. The blast was the shortstop's fifth of the year.
Umberger runs his record to 6-3 on the year. The junior allowed two runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked one. Steven Evans (Fr., RHP, Amherst, Va.) pitched 1 2/3 frames of scoreless relief for Liberty. Tyler Light (Jr., RHP, San Bernardino, Calif.) threw a scoreless ninth inning. Charleston Southern starter Cody Higgins falls to 2-2 on the season. He gave up five runs on eight hits in four innings of work.
Giammaresi led all hitters in the contest with three hits and drove in three runs. Four other Flames--Negron, Keller, Grijalva and Phillips—had two hits apiece. Four Buccaneers had two hits each in the contest.
The two teams will meet in the second game of the twinbill this afternoon at Buccaneer Field.