Phillip Thompson pitched seven shutout innings, while Phillip Laurent and Errol Hollinger each had three RBIs as the Flames defeated the Rider Broncs, 7-5, in the second game of a three-game weekend series, Saturday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.
With its fourth straight victory, Liberty moves to 6-2 on the season, while Rider falls to 0-2.
The Flames opened the scoring with three runs in the third inning. With two out Chad Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.) beat out a infield single to third base. Michael Just (Sr., 2B, Woodclif Lake, N.J.) followed with a singled to left field, moving Miller to second. The next batter Laurent (Sr., OF, Cantrall, Ill.) then doubled to center field scoring both runners and later scored on an error by Rider short-stop.
The Flames extended their lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning. Phil John (Jr., OF, Linwood, N.J.) singled on a bunt down the third base line and advanced to second on an overthrow on the play by the Broncs' third baseman. John moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Shawn Teufel (Fr., 1B, Tequesta, Fla.), and would score on a sacrifice fly by Errol Hollinger (Fr., C, Upland Calif.). In the fifth inning, Liberty widened their lead to 5-0. Just doubled to right field with one out and Laurent followed with an RBI double down the left field line, his second of the afternoon.
The Flames added two more in the sixth. John opened the bottom of the frame with a single to left field. One batter later, Hollinger hit his second collegiate home run to give the Flames a 7-0 advantage.
Meanwhile, Thompson (Sr., RHP, Ringgold, Va.) held Rider scoreless over seven innings in his first start of the season.
The Broncs broke through with two runs in the top of the eighth. Adam Tussey drew a walk and advanced to second on an infield single by Maurice Williams. Brian Wagner found the left center field gap for two-run triple, cutting the Flames lead to 7-2.
The Broncs would rally in the ninth inning. With two outs, James Hayes reached base on an error by the Liberty shortstop and pinch-hitter Matt McCollum walked. Justin Squashic then doubled down the left field line, scoring Hayes and sending pinch runner Jeff Reynolds to third. Williams followed with a single to right field to plate both Reynolds and Squashic. The next batter Wagner was hit by a pitch, advancing Williams to second and bring the go-ahead run to the plate. However, Flames' pitcher Jason Koziol (Fr., RHP, Paramus, N.J.) would get Tom Letizia to line out to the third baseman to end the game.
Flames' starter Thompson went 7 innings, allowing no runs on four hits with seven strike outs and one walk to even his season record at 1-1. Andrew Wilson (Fr., RHP, Cary, N.C.) faced five batters in relief, giving up two runs on two hits and walking two in his first collegiate appearance. Koziol closed out the game by yielding three runs, all unearned, on two hits and a walk over 1 1/3 innings. Rider's starter Erik Holck took the loss, his first of the season.
Liberty will host the Broncs again tomorrow at Worthington Stadium in the final game of the three-game weekend series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.