P.K. Keller was 3-for-4 with a home run, driving in six runs as the Liberty Flames defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies, 13-1, Wednesday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.
Winners of nine in their last 10 games, the Flames move to 11-3 on the season, while the Hokies had their four-game winning streak snapped and fall to 7-4.
Liberty jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Patrick Gaillard (Jr., SS, Taylors, S.C.), who singled to lead off the inning, scored on a RBI single by Michael Just (Sr., 2B, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.).
The Flames then added three more runs in the third inning. Just walked and advanced to third on an overthrow on a pickoff attempt by the Virginia Tech pitcher. He then scored on a two-out RBI single by Phillip Laurent (Sr., LF, Cantrall, Ill.). After a walk to Errol Hollinger (Fr., C, Upland, Calif.), Keller (So., CF, St. Petersburg, Fla.) delivered a single to plate two runs for a 4-0 Liberty advantage.
Liberty extended its lead with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Keller singled home his third two-out RBI of the afternoon, while in the sixth, Derek Bennion (r-Jr., RF, Snohomish, Wash.) singled to score a run.
In the seventh inning, the Flames picked up two more on RBI sacrifice flies by Hollinger and Abe Yeakel (Jr., DH, Kutztown, Pa.).
Meanwhile, Liberty starter Phillip Thompson (Sr., RHP, Ringgold, Va.) had another strong showing in his second start of the season to advance his record to 2-1. The right-hander did not allow a Hokie hit through the first four innings on his way to allowing just one run on three hits over seven innings, while striking out five and walking two.
Virginia Tech scored its lone run in the seventh inning on doubles by Matt Hacker and Jose Queto, before the Flames closed out the scoring with five runs in the eighth on a two-run single by Aaron Grijalva (r-So., 1B, Redlands, Calif.) and a three-run home run over the left field wall by Keller, his first of the season.
Keller had his first three-hit game of the season, his six RBI were a career-high for the sophomore center fielder. All of Keller's RBI came with two outs. Teammate Grijalva, also had a three-hit game by going 3-for-5 afternoon.
Besides Thompson, Dustin Umberger (Fr., RHP, Hummelstown, Pa.) and Tim John (Jr., RHP, Linwood, N.J.) each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for Liberty. Starter Evan Frederickson (0-1) took the loss for the Hokies.
The Flames hit the road for a three-game weekend series in our nation's capital with the George Washington Colonials. Friday's first pitch at Bancroft Park in Arlington, Va. is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.