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Liberty Sweeps Series with Game Two Win
Liberty moves to 14-3 to lead the Big South conference and improves to 26-12 overall. Winthrop, who entered the weekend atop the league standings, falls to 12-6 in conference and 24-15 overall. With the series sweep, the Flames have posted a 17-3 record at home this season.
In the second inning, the Eagles mounted a scoring threat with back-to-back two-out singles by catcher John Murrian and right fielder Shaun Sullivan. Next batter, shortstop Aaron Bonomi, appeared to follow with a home run over the right field wall. However, Liberty right fielder Doug Bream (So., Elizabethtown, Pa.) reached over the fence and caught the ball for the third out of the inning, thwarting Winthrop's attempt to plate runs.
After the outstanding defensive play in the top of the inning, the Flames scored four runs in the bottom of the frame for a 4-0 advantage. With one out, third baseman Tyler Bream (Fr., Zelienople, Pa.) walked and moved to third base on a single by left fielder Tim Rotola (Sr., Wichita, Kan.). The next batter, first baseman Trey Wimmer (Fr., Greenwood, S.C.), singled up the middle to plate the first run of the inning. Second baseman Jimenez (Jr., Yucaipa, Calif.) followed by lining a three-run home run off the Worthington Stadium scoreboard, his second home run of the season.
Meanwhile, Liberty pitchers Mark Swanson (Jr., Buford, Ga.) and Cody Brown (Sr., Cumming, Ga.) combined to retire 14 batters in a row until Eagle third baseman Matt Thielepape broke up the streak and got Winthrop on the scoreboard in the seventh inning. With one out, Thielepape connected for his sixth home run of the year, making it 4-1 Flames. Second baseman Bryn Henderson followed with a double down the right field line. Three batters later, shortstop Aaron Bonomi singled with two outs to bring home Henderson, cutting the Liberty advantage to 4-2.
In the bottom of the inning, the Flames countered with three runs to extend their lead. Pinch hitter Casey Brown (Jr., OF, Bakersfield, Calif.) opened the inning with a triple to right field. Three batters later, Wimmer banged a two-out, run-scoring single to right field to cash in Brown. Jimenez then grounded to third base, which Thielepape threw wide of the first base bag and down the right field line. Wimmer came around to score on the play and the Liberty second baseman advanced all the way to third. Shortstop Matt Williams (Fr., Franklin, Tenn.) immediately plated Jimenez with a single, upping the Flames' advantage to 7-2.
Both teams exchange three run innings in the eighth. The Eagles took advantage of an error to score three runs in the top of the inning. With one out and a runner on first, Liberty reliever Chris McDougal (Fr., RHP, Poquoson, Va.) dropped a high pop up on the infield by first baseman Eddie Tisdale, allowing both runners to each safely. After a walk loaded the bases, catcher John Murrian cleared the bases with a double to slice the Flames, 7-5.
In the bottom of the frame, Liberty put the contest away with three runs of its own. With one out and two men aboard, Tyler Bream singled to produce the first run of the home half of the eighth. Rotola followed with a double into the right-center gap to score the second run of the inning. Jimenez chased home the final run of the contest with a liner off the mound for the final of 10-5.
Cody Brown, the second of four Liberty pitchers in the contest, evens his record at 2-2. The right-hander pitched three scoreless innings of relief, giving up four hits. Carter Browning (Jr., RHP, Ada, Okla.) shut the door on the Eagles over the last 1 2/3 innings, allowing two hits, in earning his fourth save of the season.
Winthrop starter Ken Monteith takes the lost to drop to 3-2 on the year. The right-hander was roughed up for four runs on five hits over the first 1 1/3 innings. He was the first of five Eagle pitchers in the game.
Liberty catcher Errol Hollinger (Sr., Upland, Calif.) led all players in the contest with four hits. Rotola and Williams had three hits for the Flames, as head coach Jim Toman's squad had six players with multiple hits in the game. Williams also had three hits in the first end of the doubleheader.
Murrian had two hits for Winthrop.
With its seven-game homestand complete, Liberty takes to the road, Tuesday, to square off with the Longwood Lancers. Game time at Lancer Stadium in Farmville, Va., is scheduled for 6 p.m.