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Liberty Rolls to 30th Victory
Unbeaten in the month of May, Liberty moves to 13-6 in the Big South Conference and 30-23-1 overall. It is the first time in school history, the Flames have won 30 or more games in four-straight seasons. High Point falls to 8-11 in conference play and 19-31 overall.
The Flames plated the first run of the contest in the opening frame. Kenneth Negron (Jr., 2B, Kingwood, Texas) led off the inning with a single to right field. Two batters later, P.K. Keller (Sr., RF, Clearwater, Fla.) dropped a double into the left-center field gap to advance Negron to third base. Giammaresi (Sr., 1B, Coral Springs, Fla.) followed by lining a single into right field to score the runner from third for a 1-0 advantage.
High Point countered with a run in the top of the second inning to momentarily knot the contest at 1-1. Catcher Billy Alvino and left fielder Max Fulginitti began the stanza with back-to-back singles. The Panthers then loaded the bases with no one out, when Flames third baseman Cody Brown (Jr., 3B, Clearwater, Fla.) misplayed right fielder Chris Norwood's sacrifice bunt. High Point then pushed across its lone run of the game on a double play grounder.
Liberty answered with a run in the bottom of the frame to go back in front. With two outs, Aaron Phillips (Sr., SS, Claremore, Okla.) reached on an infield single. Negron followed by lifting a fly ball to left field, which was dropped by Fulginitti, allowing Phillips to move to third base. The Flames then chased home a run to take a 2-1 edge. With Errol Hollinger (Jr., C, Upland, Calif.) at the plate, Negron got caught in a rundown between first and second base, enabling Phillips to tally the go-ahead run.
In the third inning, the Flames struck for two runs to take control of the contest. Giammaresi singled with two outs and moved to third base on a double by Brown. Garrett Young (Sr., DH, Fountain Valley, Calif.) then cashed in both runners with a double to the bottom of the wall in right-center field to make it, 4-1 Flames.
Liberty continued its scoring spree with two more tallies in the fourth frame. Tim Rotola (Jr., CF, Wichita, Kan.) lined a double into the right field corner to start the inning. After moving to third with two outs, the Flames center fielder plated the first run of the stanza on a wild pitch. The next batter, Hollinger, continued the frame with a base hit and came home, two batters later, on a single through the right side by Giammaresi for a 6-1 lead.
The Flames scored for the fifth-straight inning with a run in the fifth. A two-out single to right field by Phillips brought home the speedy Rotola all the way from first, upping the Liberty advantage to 7-1.
In the seventh inning, the Flames added a single run for the final score of the night. Young singled sharply up the middle to open the frame and stole second base. A high hopper past the mound by Phillips then brought home Young for the final margin of 8-1.
Liberty starter David Stokes (Sr., RHP, Locust Grove, Okla.) allowed one run on three hits during five innings of work, improving his record to 8-4 on the year. Tyler Light (Jr., RHP, San Bernardino, Calif.) yielded just one hit in the following three frames. Brett Curll (So., RHP, Virginia Beach, Va.) came on in the ninth to retire all three batters he faced.
High Point starter Ryan Basham falls to 2-6. Basham gave up seven runs on 13 hits over six innings.
Besides Giammaresi's hitting, Phillips collected three hits and two RBIs on the evening, as the Flames pounded out 16 total hits in the game. No Panther had more than one hit in the contest.
The two teams meet again tomorrow afternoon at Worthington Stadium in the middle game of the three-game regular season ending series. Game time Saturday is scheduled for 4 p.m.