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Season Highs Lead Flames Past Keydets

April 1, 2006
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Liberty Flames used a season-high 19 hits to score a season-high 16 runs to down the VMI Keydets, 16-8, in the second game of the three-game Big South Conference series between the two teams, Saturday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.

Liberty's previous season-high of 13 hits in a game was reached three times, the last in a 8-7 setback to Rutgers on March 19, while the Flames had previously scored 14 runs in a game this season in a 14-3 victory over Hartford in the first game of a doubleheader on March 4.  The Flames' 16 runs were the most given up in a game by the Keydets this season.

With its second straight conference win, Liberty moves to 20-8 on the season and 2-3 in the Big South Conference, while VMI drops to 20-8 and 2-3 in conference. 

For the second day in a row, the Keydets plated a run in the top half of the first inning.  A two-out double by Robert Crumpler scored Chris Rice, who led off the frame with a single, for a 1-0 advantage.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Flames batted around and the first six batters all scored as Liberty staked itself to a 6-1 advantage.  Patrick Gaillard (Jr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) opened the frame with a double to the left center field gap.  After Chad Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.) was hit by a pitch, the Flames knotted the game at 1-1 as a ground ball to short was misplayed by the VMI shortstop, allowing Gaillard to score.  Aaron Grijalva (r-So., 1B, Redlands, Calif.) then reached on a bunt single to load the bases for Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.), who walked to force across Liberty's second run of the inning. Back-to-back RBI bunt base hits by the next two batters, P.K Keller (So., CF, St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Derek Bennion (r-Jr., DH, Snohomish, Wash.), each plated single runs.  After a fly out for the first out of the inning, Errol Hollinger (Fr., C, Upland, Calif.) sent a single back through the middle, scoring Laurent and Bennion.

Liberty increased its lead to 7-1 in the fourth inning as two doubles provided the Flames a run.  Gaillard doubled for the second time on the afternoon and scored on a double by Just.

VMI closed the gap in the top of the fifth with three runs.  With the base loaded, Crumpler got hit by a pitch to force across the Keydets' second run of the day.  Catcher Michael Roberts followed with a 2-run double off the right field wall to cut the Liberty lead to 7-4.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Flames broke the game open with seven runs on eight hits.  Laurent led off the frame with his fourth home run of the season over the right field wall.  Bennion, who had his first multiple hit game of the season, doubled down the left field line and scored as Phil John (Jr., RF, Linwood, N.J.) singled up the middle. Hollinger followed with a RBI double to left center field gap.  The Liberty catcher then came home on an error by the VMI shortstop on a sharp grounder by Gaillard.  After Miller, Just hit his second double of the day down the left line to chasing home Gaillard and Miller with the inning's fifth and sixth runs.  Laurent then capped the inning with a single to score Just in his second at bat in the frame.

Liberty added two more runs in the sixth on a RBI triple by pinch hitter Abe Yeakel (Jr., C, Kutztown, Pa.) and a RBI double by Miller.

VMI plated four in the ninth inning without a hit as five Keydet batters were hit by a pitch, two with bases loaded to force in runs and two sacrifice flies.

Phillip Thompson (Sr., RHP, Ringgold, Va.) pitched a six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits to run his record to 4-3 on the season for Liberty.  The right-hander has won four of his five starts, while receiving a no decision in his other start.  He also struck out a career-high nine batters, while walking two.  VMI's John Phelps fell to 1-1, allowing six runs on five hits in 1/3 inning.

10 of the 15 Flames who came to the plate had a hit as Gaillard lead the way with his first three-hit game of the season, while seven other Flames each had two hits.   Chad Rice was the only Keydet with two hits. 

VMI and Liberty will meet again tomorrow in the final game of the three-game series at Worthington Stadium.  First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.