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Liberty Pounds Winthrop, Reaches Title Tilt

May 23, 2008  Danville, Va.  RSS
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Liberty outfielder Jeff Jefferson had a career-high five hits in win Friday night.

Liberty outfielder Jeff Jefferson had a career-high five hits in win Friday night.

Liberty right fielder Jeff Jefferson had a career-high five hits and third baseman Cody Brown added three hits and three RBIs, helping the No. 2 seed Flames advance to the 2008 Big South Championship title game with a 15-3 win over the No. 4 seed Winthrop Eagles, Friday night at Dan Daniel Park.

Liberty, now 34-25-1 on the season, moves into the title contest for the third-straight year and will face No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina in the game, beginning Saturday at 1 p.m. Should the Flames hand the Chanticleers their first loss of the tournament, a second game would be played shortly following the first contest. Winthrop ends the season at 26-34.

Winthrop got on the scoreboard first with a solo run in the second inning. With one out, right fielder Billy Froehlich walked and advanced to second base on a single by designated hitter Eddie Rohan. Catcher John Murrian then received a free pass to load the bases. Second baseman Aaron Bonami followed with a fly ball to left field, plating Froehlich with the first run of the contest.

Liberty answered definitively in the bottom of the inning, sending 13 batters to plate and scoring eight runs. Cody Brown (Jr., 3B, Boca Raton, Fla.) evened the contest at 1-1, leading off the frame. The Flames third baseman blasted a home run over the left field wall, his team-leading ninth round tripper of the season. After Garrett Young (Sr., DH, Fountain Valley, Calif.) was hit by a pitch and advanced to second base on a balk, Aaron Grijalva (Sr., LF, Redlands, Calif.) laced a single down the right field line to score Young. Jeff Jefferson (Fr., RF, Danville, Va.) and Tim Rotola (Jr., CF, Wichita, Kan.) reached on back-to-back singles to load the bases. Aaron Phillps (Sr., SS, Claremore, Okla.) then cleared the bases with the Flames fourth-straight hit, a double to right-center field gap, to give Liberty a 5-0 advantage.

After the next two batters were retired, David Giammaresi (Sr., 1B, Coral Springs, Fla.) singled to right field to continue the Liberty outburst, bringing home Phillips. Brown singled in his second at bat of the frame and Young was intentionally walked to load the bases. Grijalva capped the eight-run uprising with a two-run single for an 8-1 Liberty lead.

The Flames tallied four more runs in the third frame. With one out, Liberty loaded the bases and plated two runs on Errol Hollinger's (Jr., C, Uplands, Calif.) towering liner off the right field wall. Two batters later, Brown doubled off the right field wall to bring home two more runs and give the Flames a 12-1 advantage.

Jefferson singled, stole second and moved to third in the fourth frame and later came home on a wild pitch, posting the Flames to a 13-1 lead.

Winthrop got single runs in the sixth and seven innings on a pair of solo home runs. In the sixth frame, third baseman Bryn Henderson led off with a round tripper. Murrian then led off the next inning with a home run.

Liberty added two runs in the eighth frame on a RBI double by Jefferson and a RBI single by pinch hitter Joseph Feeley (Fr., OF, Chesapeake City, Va.).

Flames starter Clarence Nicely (Jr., RHP, Milton, W.Va.) picks up his first complete game in a Liberty uniform, allowing three runs on six hits over nine innings. He struck out six batters and walked four in running his record to 6-1 on the year. Eagles starter Wade Newman takes the loss. He completes the year at 2-2, after giving up six runs on five hits, before being chased just one inning into the contest.

Besides Jefferson's and Brown's hitting, Giammaresi and Grijalva each collected two hits for Liberty in a 17-hit attack. Rohan and Murrian had two hits apiece for Winthrop.