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Liberty Takes Series Opener, 12-2

March 9, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Ryan Cordell had a career-high five RBIs in 12-2 win, Friday.

Ryan Cordell drove in five runs to back another strong pitching performance by John Niggli, as the Liberty Flames defeated the St. John's Red Storm, 12-2, Friday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.

Cordell's five RBIs are a new career-high for the first baseman.  The sophomore had two hits, including a bases-clearing double in the eighth inning.

Niggli, the reining Big South Pitcher of the Week, pitched eight strong innings to remain unbeaten at 4-0.  He allowed two runs on eight hits, striking out six batters and walking one.

Liberty moves to 14-1, tying the 1995 Flames for the best start to a season in program history. With the win, Liberty has won seven straight games.  St. John's drops to 4-7 on the year.

The Red Storm posted a run in its opening at bat, only to see the host Flames answer with a run of their own in the bottom of the first inning.  St. John's center fielder Martin Kelly led off the game with single and advanced to third on a double by first baseman Pat Talbut.  Shortstop Matt Wessinger followed with a ground out to score Kelly for a 1-0 visitor advantage.

Liberty's Andy Smith knotted the contest in the bottom of the frame.  The center fielder ripped his second home run of the season over the right field wall, evening the score at 1-1.

The Flames took the lead for good in the third inning. Left fielder Ian Parmley walked and stole both second and third bases.  He then scored on an infield single by right fielder Michael Robertson for a 2-1 edge.

In the fifth, Liberty extended its lead, plating four runs with five hits.  After shortstop Zach Haley and Parmley opened the inning with singles, Robertson plated both runners with a one-out single.  Later in the frame, designated hitter Alex Close reached on an infield single and Cordell brought home both runners with a two-out single to push the Flames' advantage to 6-1.

Liberty upped its lead in its next at bat.  Robertson drove in the first run of the sixth inning with a fielder's choice and second baseman Bryan Aanderud followed with a RBI single to make it, 8-1 Flames.

After being held scoreless since the first inning by Niggli, St. John's got on the scoreboard in the seventh.  Third baseman Sean O'Hare led off the top of the inning with his first home run of the season, trimming the Liberty advantage to 8-2

The Flames added four runs for the final score of 12-2.  Aanderud singled home the first run of the inning, while Cordell cleared the bases with his extra base hit down the left field line.

Red Storm starter Kyle Hansen falls to 0-4 on the year. The right-hander gave up six runs on seven hit over five innings.  The first of four pitchers in the contest, he struck out five batters and walked two.

Liberty had 11 hits in the contest. Robertson had a season-high four RBIs, while Parmley scored three runs. St. John's recorded eight hits in the game, as Daniel Brown retire the side in order for the Flames in the top of the ninth.

St. John's and Liberty will meet again in a doubleheader at Worthington Stadium. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 1 p.m.