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Flames Use Offensive Outburst to Down Patriots

April 25, 2006
|  Fairfax, Va.
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Liberty hit three home runs in the third inning and the Flames scored a season-high 18 runs on 22 hits in defeating the George Mason Patriots, 18-4, Tuesday afternoon at Spuhler Field. David Giammaresi and Aaron Grijalva each drove in four runs as the Flames hit season-high four home runs in the game.

With the non-conference win, the Flames move to 32-11 on the season, while George Mason falls 14-26. Liberty's 18 runs and 22 hits are the most by the Flames this season. Liberty previously had 20 hits and scored 16 runs in a victory at Radford on April 7.

Both teams struck for runs in the first inning. After Chad Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.) and Michael Just (Sr., 2B, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) eacj walked to open the game for Liberty, Patrick Gaillard (Jr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) singled with two outs to plate Miller for the game's first run in the top of the frame. In the home half of the inning, left fielder Spencer Wiggins singled and scored on center fielder's Robby Jacobsen ninth of the home run of the season to take a 2-1 lead.

The Patriots extended their lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning. Third baseman Matt York singled with one out and scored on a double to the right field gap by Scott Krieger.

In the top of the fourth, seven consecutive batters hit safely, three of them home runs as the Flames countered with six runs in the frame. With one out, P.K. Keller (So., CF, St. Petersburg, Fla.) began the uprising with a solo home run deep over the 400 foot sign in center field. It was Keller's fourth of the season. After Derek Bennion (r-Jr., RF, Snohomish, Wash.) followed with a single, David Giammaresi (r-So., DH, Coral Springs, Fla.) smashed his first home run of the season over the left field fence to put Liberty on top, 4-3. Errol Hollinger (Fr., C, Upland, Calif.) followed with a solo shot to left field, his third of the season.

It is the first time this season that the Flames have hit back-to-back home runs. The last time Liberty hit back-to-back round trippers was on May 13, 2005 as Grijalva and Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.) hit solo shots in the eighth inning in a 5-4 setback against Radford at Worthington Stadium.

The next two batters Miller and Just singled. The pair then executed a double steal and Miller scored as the Patriot catcher over threw the second baseman trying to catch Just. Aaron Grijalva (r-So., 1B, Redlands, Calif.) chased the Liberty second baseman home with a RBI double to left for a
7-3 advantage after four.

Meanwhile, the Flames' Ryan Page (So., LHP, Cranberry Twp. Pa.) restored order by retiring the 10 straight after coming on with one out in the third inning and runners on the corners. The pitcher would hold the Patriots in check over 4 2/3 innings.

Liberty added a single runs in the sixth and seventh frames. Grijalva plated Miller with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, while in the seventh; Bennion scored Laurent on a sacrifice fly for a 9-3 lead.

For the second time on the afternoon, the Flames batted around in the visitors' half of the eighth inning, sending 11 men to plate and scoring five runs. Just singled and scored on Grijalva's seventh home run of the season to deep center. Keller later single to bring home a run and Giammaresi followed with a 2-run single.

Liberty added four runs in the ninth inning on a RBI sacrifice fly by Bennion, an RBI single by Abe Yeakel (Jr., C, Kutztown, Pa.), who entered the game in the eighth innning as a defensive replacement, and a two-run single by Tommy Bussey (Fr., 2B, Boynton Beach, Fla.), who had entered the contest also in the eighth as a pinch hitter.

The Patriots added a single run in the ninth for a final score of 18-4.

Page picked up the win to run his record to 8-1 on the season. The left-hander shut out the Patriots by scattering three hits over 4 2/3 innings. George Mason starter Jared Petrovich took the loss to fall to 0-3, allowing seven runs on nine hits.

Big South Player of the Week, Miller, was 4-for-6 on the afternoon, while Bennion and Giammaresi each were 3-for-4 for the Flames.

Liberty steps back into Big South Conference play on Friday as the Flames return home to face the Birmingham-Southern Panthers in a three-game weekend series at Worthington Stadium. The series opener Friday is scheduled for 3 p.m.