Senior pitcher Keegan Linza
A strong outing by pitcher Keegan Linza and a home run by Jeff Jefferson propelled the Liberty Flames past the North Florida Ospreys, 4-2, in game one of a doubleheader, Saturday afternoon at Harmon Stadium.
Liberty's Linza records his first win of 2011 to move to 1-0 on the year. The senior right-hander allowed two runs on eight hits over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out seven batters and walked one.
The host Ospreys took an early advantage, pushing a run across in the bottom of the opening inning. With third baseman Andrew Karmeris on second base and two outs, first baseman Evan Stermer lined a single back through the middle of the infield to plate the runner for a 1-0 advantage.
Liberty knotted the game in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs, center fielder Joshua Thompson lined a double off the first base bag. Second baseman Zack Haley followed with a single to left field, cashing in Thompson to tie the contest at 1-1.
The Flames jumped on top in the seventh inning. Designated hitter Jefferson led off the frame by blasting his first home run of the season over the left field wall and off the indoor batting cage. The first round tripper allowed by the North Florida pitching staff this season gave the Liberty a 2-1 advantage.
In the top of the eighth, the Flames upped their lead to 3-1. Shortstop Matt Williams walked on four pitches to open the inning. Two batters later, third baseman Tyler Bream dropped a one-out ksingle into center field, moving Williams into scoring position at second base. Left fielder Doug Bream followed with a RBI single to left, scoring Williams.
The Ospreys sliced the Liberty advantage to 3-2 in the bottom of the inning. Shortstop Alex Hernandez singled and two batters later, advanced to second base on a single by Andrew Karmeris. After a pitching change by the Flames, Tyler Marincov lifted a RBI single to center field to cut the Liberty edge.
The Flames added an insurance run in the ninth. With two outs, Haley lined a double over the head of the left fielder, one hopping the wall. Williams followed with a fly ball to center field, which looked like the final out of the frame. However, North Florida center fielder Michael Smith dropped the fly, allowing Haley to score, making it 4-2.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Ospreys moved a runner to second with one out, but reliever Josh Richardson retire the last two batters to close out the victory and record his second save of the year.
North Florida starter Paul Karmeris falls to 0-2 on the year. The sophomore right-hander gave up two runs on eight hits. He struck out two batters.
Haley, Tyler Bream and Doug Bream each had two hits of Liberty's 11 hits in the contest. Hernandez had two hits for North Florida. The Ospreys had nine hits in the game.