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Bulldogs Down Flames in Big South Series Opener

May 12, 2006
|  Asheville, N.C.
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Bulldogs Down Flames in Big South Series Opener
Kevin Mattison was 3-for-4 with a home run, triple and five RBI and Alan DeRatt pitched his first complete game of the season as the UNC Asheville Bulldogs defeated the Liberty Flames, 8-3, Friday afternoon in the opening game of the three-game Big South Conference weekend series at Greenwood Field.
The Flames fall to 11-8 in the Big South and 33-16 overall, while the Bulldogs upped their mark to 9-10 in the Big South and 22-27 overall.  
Liberty opened the scoring by manufacturing a run in the visitor half of the first inning.  Patrick Gaillard (Jr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) led off the game with a bunt single on the first pitch of the contest.  After the next two batters were set down, the shortstop then stole second base and scored as Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.) doubled off the wall in center field for a 1-0 Flames' advantage.
After retiring the first seven batters he faced in the contest, Liberty starter Phillip Thompson (Sr., RHP, Ringgold, Va.) ran into trouble in the bottom of the third inning with one out.   Shortstop Matt Henson singled for the Bulldogs first hit of the game. 
Steve Burnich followed with a single and both scored ahead of UNC Asheville's third hit of the inning, a three-run home run to center field by Kevin Mattison to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead.  It was the center fielder's eighth round tripper of the season.  
UNC Asheville extended their lead with two in the fifth.  With one out, Burnich singled to left and advanced to second on a wild pitch.   The next batter Mattison tripled to the right center field chasing home Burnich.  Mattison then scored as left fielder Rob Vernon singled to left for a 5-1 advantage.
The Bulldogs added three more in the sixth for an 8-1 lead.  A two-out single by Henson plated pinch hitter Charles Pippitt, who had singled.  A wild pitch later allowed the second run of the frame and Mattison singled home another run for his fifth RBI of the day. 
After being held in check since the first by DeRatt,  the Flames broke through with two runs in the eighth.  With one out, Chad Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.) tripled to the center field wall and scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Just (Sr., 2B, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.). Laurent followed with his team-leading eighth home run to make it, 8-3.
Thompson allowed eight runs, six earned in 5 2/3 innings as he drops to 6-5 on the season.  The Flames' senior struck out six and did not walk a batter.  Dane Beakler (Fr., RHP, York, Pa.) followed with 2 2/3 scoreless innings.  DeRatt allowed three runs on 10 hits over nine innings, while striking out five and walking none to run his record to 6-3. 
Laurent was 3-for-4 with two RBI for the Flames, while teammates Grijalva and Miller each had two hits.  Besides Mattison, Elliot Arrington was also 3-for-4, while Henson and Burnich each had two hits for the Bulldogs.

Liberty and UNC Asheville will meet tomorrow in a doubleheader due to possible rain forecasted for the Asheville area on Sunday.  Game time has been moved up an hour to 2 p.m.