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Flames Cruise Past Tribe as Royer Picks Up 100th Liberty Win
Patrick Gaillard, Phil John and Michael Just each had three hits to lead an 18-hit attack as the Liberty Flames defeated the Tribe of William and Mary, 15-4, Wednesday night at Plumeri Park, giving Matt Royer his 100th victory as Liberty head coach.
The Flames move to 22-8 on the season with the non-conference victory, while the Tribe falls to 10-19. In addition, it was head coach Matt Royer's 100th win at Liberty. In his 16th season as a head coach, Royer has led his teams to over 400 wins.
Liberty jumped out to a 2-0 lead to open the game. The Flames first two batters reached as Gaillard (Jr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) singled up the middle to lead off the frame and Chad Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.) drew a walk. After a fly out, Aaron Grijalva(r-So., 1B, Redlands, Calif.) doubled to the bottom of the left center field wall to chase home both runners.
The Flames added two more runs in each of the second and third innings to extend their lead, 6-0. With two men and two outs, Gaillard dropped a single just beyond the reach of the Tribe second baseman into right field to score both runners for a 4-0 advantage in the second. In the third, Just (Sr., 2B, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) doubled to center field, stole third and scored on a passed ball for Liberty's first run of the frame. P.K. Keller (So., CF, St. Petersburg, Fla.) then delivered a RBI single to left to plate Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.), who reached on a walk, with the Flames' second run of the inning.
Liberty scored a single run in the fifth inning. Grijalva walked with one out and moved to third on a single by Laurent. The Flames first baseman later scored on a wild pitched to go up, 7-0.
William and Mary broke through against Liberty starter Dane Beakler (Fr., RHP, York, Pa.) in the bottom half of the inning. With a runner on third and one out, catcher Joe Lundari bunted to score the Tribe's first run of the game and moved to second on throwing error by the Flames' third baseman. He then came home on a RBI single by left fielder Greg Malinak to make it, 7-2.
Two seemed to be the Flames number on the night as Liberty came back with two more runs in the sixth. John (Jr., RF, Linwood, N.J.) and Errol Hollinger (Fr., C, Upland, Calif.) each singled to open the inning and later scored. Miller brought John home with a sacrifice fly, while Hollinger scored on a RBI single by Just.
William and Mary plated single runs in the seventh and ninth innings, while Liberty continued its offensive barrage in the eighth, scoring six runs on seven hits and an error. The Flames would score runs in the inning on a RBI single by Abe Yeakel (Jr., C, Kutztown, Pa.), a RBI double by Miller, a two-run double by Just, an error and a RBI single by Tim Nanry (Jr., OF, Rochester, N.Y.).
Liberty's Beakler ran his record to 3-1 on the season as the right-hander allowed two runs, one earned, on eight hits, while striking out three and walking one. Senior Joe Roenker took the loss to fall to 0-3.
Of the 14 players to step to the plate for the Flames on the evening, 12 recorded a hit. Along with Gaillard, who had his third straight three hit game, John and Just, who also drove in three runs, Miller moved his consecutive game hit streak to 11 straight games. It is the longest by a Flame this season.
Liberty steps back into conference play this weekend as they travel to Radford for a three-game Big South series with the Highlanders, Friday through Sunday. Friday's game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m., while both Saturday's and Sunday's game are set to begin at 1 p.m.