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Flames Take Both Ends of Doubleheader From Buccaneers
Liberty took a 3-2 lead on Chad Miller's solo home run in the seventh and never relinquished it as the Flames defeated the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, 7-2, in game two of the Big South doubleheader, completing a sweep of the doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Buccaneer Field.
With the doubleheader sweep, Liberty moves to 28-9 overall and 8-4 in the Big South, while Charleston Southern falls to 14-27 overall and 8-10 in conference.
As in the first game of the doubleheader, the Flames opened the scoring with a single run in the second inning. P.K. Keller (So., CF, St. Petersburg, Fla.) tripled to the right field corner to lead off the frame and scored on a safety bunt by Derek Bennion (r-Jr., RF, Snohomish, Wash.) for a 1-0 lead
Liberty added to their lead in the third inning. Michael Just (Sr., 2B, Woodcliff Lakes, N.J.) opened the frame with a single and then swiped second base. Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.), who had three RBI in the first game, two batters later single sharply to right to plate Just for a 2-0 Flames' advantage.
After being kept in check through five, Charleston Southern knotted the score at 2-2 in the sixth. With a man aboard, designated hitter David Perkins hit a home run, his fourth of the season.
Liberty answered back in the top of the seventh inning to once again take the lead. Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.) hit his third home run of the season to put the Flames up, 3-2.
Liberty then extended their lead to 4-2 in the eighth. With two outs, Tommy Bussey (Fr., SS, Boynton Beach, Fla.) singled through the middle to bring home Bennion, who had reached on a fielder's choice.
In the ninth, the Flames broke the game open with three runs on five hits to go up 7-2. Just opened the inning with a single up the middle and scored as Aaron Grijalva (r-So., 1B, Redlands, Calf.), who hit a home run in the first game of the doubleheader, hit an opposite field two-run round tripper over the right field wall. It was the first baseman's sixth home run of the season. Later in the inning, Keller reached on a single to left field and a batter later, scored on a RBI double by Phil John (Jr., OF, Linwood, N.J.), who entered the game in the eighth inning as the right fielder.
Dustin Umberger (Fr., RHP, Hummelstown, Pa.), the Flames' starter, held the Buccaneers scoreless through five, but did not figure in the decision as Charleston Southern broke through for two runs in the sixth. The freshman right-hander allowed two runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings, striking out four and walking two. Tim John pitched the last 3 1/3 innings, allowing no runs on one hit to pick up the win and move his record to 3-1 on the season. Besides the ninth, the right-hander stranded a Buccaneer runner at third in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Charleston Southern senior left-hander Josh Evans drops to 2-6 on the season as he gave up four runs on 10 hits in 7 2/3 innings. Reliever Ryan Rowland followed and gave up three runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Keller was 4-for-5, while Just was 3-for-5 in the second game for the Flames. Bussey also had two hits for Liberty. Perkins had two hits for the Buccaneers.
The Flames return home on Tuesday afternoon to host Longwood in a non-conference contest. Game time Tuesday is scheduled for 3 p.m.