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Liberty Rolls Past Maryland, 11-1
The Liberty Flames extended their winning streak to five-straight, downing the Maryland Terrapins, 11-1, Wednesday afternoon in a non-conference match-up at Worthington Stadium.
Liberty moves to 34-12 on the season. Maryland falls to 16-34. The contest was the first meeting between the two schools on the baseball diamond since 1992.
The visiting Terrapins opened the game with their lone run of the contest. The first two batters of the game combined to give Maryland a short-lived, 1-0 advantage. Shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez lined a leadoff double off the left field wall, and came around to score on a single back through the middle of the infield by Zach Fisher.
Liberty countered in the bottom of the frame. With one out and the bases loaded, second baseman P.J. Jimenez lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, delivering the first run of the contest for the Flames, and knotting the score at 1-1. Right fielder Michael Robertson followed with his fourth home run of the year, a three-run blast off the batter's eye beyond the center field wall, pushing Liberty into the lead at 4-1.
In the third inning, the Flames added to their advantage. Catcher Nathan Thompson opened the frame with his team-leading eighth home run, a rising liner over the left field wall to extend the lead to 5-1. The roundtripper was the second in two days for the catcher, who hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning at George Mason yesterday.
Liberty broke the game open in the fifth. After the first three batters of the inning reached to load the bases, Robertson was hit by a pitch, forcing in a run for a 6-1 advantage. Two batters later, left fielder Kenneth Negron dropped a bloop single between the Maryland second baseman and center fielder, clearing the bases, and upping the Liberty lead to 9-1. Center fielder Curran Redal followed by lacing a double down the right field line to chase home Negron, and the Flames had a 10-1 advantage.
Liberty added to its advantage in the sixth. Third baseman Tyler Bream singled and moved to third on a double by Thompson. Jimenez followed with a double, plating Bream for the final score of 11-1.
After a shaky first inning, Flames starter Cameron Giannini settled in to allow one run on seven hits over seven innings, running his record to 4-3 on the year. The right-hander struck out a career-high 10 batters, while walking none. He did not allow a runner past second base after the first inning.
J.J. McLeod and Chris Roach each pitched scoreless innings in relief for Liberty.
Left-hander Eric Potter, the first of six Terrapins to take the mound in the contest, takes the loss to fall to 2-9 on the season. He allowed four runs on four hits in the first inning.
Six Flames, Redal, Bream, Thompson, Jimenez, Robertson and Negron, had two hits apiece. First baseman Gary Schneider had two hits for Maryland.
Liberty, currently on a 12-game winning streak in Big South Conference play, the longest in program history, travels to Charleston, S.C., for a weekend conference series with the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, Friday-Sunday at the Buccaneer Ballpark. Friday's opening game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.