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Flames Fall in Conference Opener

March 26, 2010  Asheville, N.C.  RSS
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P.J. Jimenez had two hits and two RBIs Friday

P.J. Jimenez had two hits and two RBIs Friday

The UNC Asheville Bulldogs plated two runs in the eighth inning, and then held off the Flames in the top of the ninth for a 5-4 victory over Liberty in its Big South Conference opener, Friday afternoon at Greenwood Field.

Liberty drops to 0-1 in conference play and 13-7 overall. UNC Asheville moves to 1-3 in Big South contests and 6-12 overall.

The Flames and the Bulldogs both posted a run each on the scoreboard in the game's opening inning. Shortstop Matt Williams lined a double down the left field line to lead off the contest and scored on a single by P.J. Jimenez. UNC Asheville used three one-out singles to tie the game at 1-1, with center fielder Danny Baatz providing the RBI single.

Liberty took the lead in the second inning. Catcher Nathan Thompson doubled into the left field corner to open the frame. After advancing to third base on a wild pitch, Thompson was brought home by ground out by Justin Richardson for a 2-1 advantage.

The host Bulldogs plated two runs in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead. With one out, left fielder Beau Zinman doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Two batters later, shortstop Catlin Carter beat out an infield single to score the run and moved to second when Liberty shortstop Matt Williams' throw got away at first base. Second baseman Robert McIntosh followed with a run-scoring double and Asheville had a one-run lead.

Liberty tied the game in the top of the eighth. Pinch hitter Jeff Jefferson drew a base on balls to lead off the frame. Williams moved pinch runner Kizuku Scott to second with a sacrifice bunt. Jimenez followed with a RBI single to cash in the runner and knot the score at 3-3.

In the bottom of the inning, the Bulldogs answered back with two runs. With one out, first baseman Justin Schumer walked. After a pitching change by the Flames, Schumer moved to both second and third on wild pitches. As Baatz walked, ball four went wild and to the backstop, allowing Schumer to score to make it, 4-3, UNC Asheville. The host team added to its lead later in the inning on a bases-loaded, two-out fielding error by third baseman Tyler Bream.

Liberty's rally in the ninth, but it just came up short. Thompson began the inning by drawing a base on balls and advanced to second on a one-out single by pinch hitter Jerry Neufang. Two batters later, Thompson scored to cut the Bulldogs' lead to 5-4, on a fielding error by first baseman Schumer on grounder by Kenneth Negron. Asheville reliever Ryan Dull was able to retire the next Flame to close out the Bulldog victory.

Liberty starter Shawn Teufel took the loss in a solid effort to fall to 4-1 on the season. The left-hander gave up four runs, three earned, on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out one batter and walked one.

Drew Spears runs his record to 1-1 for UNC Asheville. The right-hander allowed three runs on three hits over eight innings of work. He struck out five batters and walked two. Dull yielded one run on one hit in the ninth to record his first save of the year.

Jimenez had two hits for the Flames and drove in two runs. McIntosh and designated hitter Mike Vaughn each had two hits for the Bulldogs.

Liberty and UNC Asheville will conclude the three-game series tomorrow afternoon with a doubleheader, starting at Noon. Originally scheduled as single game, tomorrow was scheduled for a doubleheader due to forecasted inclement weather on Sunday.