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Six-Run Seventh Lifts Flames Past Highlanders

April 8, 2006
|  Radford, Va.
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The Liberty Flames scored six runs in the seventh inning, breaking open a tie games and securing a 9-4 win over the Radford Highlanders, Saturday in Big South baseball action at Dedmon Stadium.

The Flames upped their record to 24-8 on the season and 5-3 in the Big South, while the Highlanders drop to 4-28 and 1-10 in conference.  Liberty has won seven straight games.

The game was delay due to rain in the area for 2 ½ hours, but once the game got underway, Liberty scored first for the second straight day to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning.  P.K. Keller (So., CF, St. Petersburg, Fla.) walked to lead off the frame and moved to third on a single by Abe Yeakel (Jr., DH, Kutztown, Pa.).  Keller then scored on a ground out by Phil John (Jr., RF, Linwood, N.J.).

Radford took the lead in the third inning with three unearned runs.  Second baseman Ben Toth reached on a throwing error by the Flames' shortstop to open the frame.  After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt, the second baseman would score on a two-out RBI single by designated hitter Nate Toth.  Alex Gregory followed with a single, plating the designated hitter and two batters later, a RBI single by Drew Maus made it, 3-1.

The Flames tied the game in the sixth inning.  Michael Just (Jr., 2B, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) and Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.) opened the frame with a singles.  Keller then dropped a single into center field, scoring Just and moving Laurent to third base.  After a pitching change, Laurent scored on a wild pitch to knot the game at 3-3.

Liberty erupted for six runs in the seventh.  With the bases loaded and one out, an infield single by Aaron Grijalva (r-So., 1B, Redlands, Calif.) scored Chad Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.), who had earlier singled, to put the Flames on top, 4-3.  Keller then walked to force across the second run of the frame.  Yeakel, who was 3-for-3 on the day, followed with two-run double to make it, 7-3.  Keller scored as the next batter John grounded into a fielder's choice.  John came around with Liberty's final run of the inning on a RBI double by Errol Hollinger (Fr., C, Upland, Calif.).

In the bottom of the inning, the Highlanders added a single run on a double by Nate Toth and a single by Gregory.

Flames starter Phillip Thompson (Sr., RHP, Ringgold, Va.) allowed four runs, three unearned, on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings to move his record to 5-3 on the season.  The right-hander struck out seven and walked one.  Billy Daniels (Sr., RHP, Colonial Heights, Va.) took over and came on to pitch the last 2 1/3 innings and not allow a run.  Justin Morgan took the loss to fall to 1-5 on the season.

Besides Yeakel with three hits, Patrick Gaillard (Jr., SS, Taylors, S.C.), Miller, Just and Hollinger all had multiple hit games with two hits each.

Liberty and Radford will meet tomorrow in the final game of the Big South three-game series.  Game time is schedule for 1 p.m. at Dedmon Center Park.