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Nine-Run Second Inning Lifts Flames Past Patriots

March 29, 2006  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Michael Just hit a grand slam home run as part of a nine-run second inning as the Liberty Flames downed the George Mason Patriots, 11-2, Wednesday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.

With the win, Liberty moves to 18-8 on the season, while George Mason drops to 11-16.

The Flames got on the scoreboard in the first inning.  Chad Miller (Sr., 3B, Wheat Ridge, Colo.) singled, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball.  The Liberty third baseman then scored on a wild pitch as the Flames went up, 1-0.

In the second inning, Liberty sent 13 batters to the plate as they scored nine runs on seven hits.  After walking and stealing second with one out, Derek Bennion (r-Jr., DH, Snohomish, Wash.) scored the first run of the frame on a RBI single by Phil John (Jr., RF, Linwood, N.J.).  Following a walk to Errol Hollinger (Fr., C, Upland, Calif.), Patrick Gaillard (Jr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) singled to left field to score John.  Miller then reached on an infield single to load the bases for Just (Sr., 2B, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.), who followed by hitting his third home run of the season over the left field wall for a grand slam to give the Flames a 7-0 advantage.  After loading the bases once again, Bennion singled home two more runs and John, who singled home the inning's first run, followed with his second run-scoring single of the inning to put Liberty on top, 10-0.

Just's grand slam was the first by a Liberty player since teammate Miller hit one on May 1, 2005 at VMI in the second game of a doubleheader against the Keydets.

George Mason broke though with two runs in the fifth inning to make it 10-2 Flames.  The Patriots opened the inning with back-to-back singles by right fielder Ryan Uphouse and second baseman Tyler Youngs.  Uphouse then scored on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Brent Weiss, while Jacobsen scored on a fielder choice ground out by third baseman Matt York.

Liberty added an additional run in the sixth inning.  P.K. Keller (So., CF, St. Petersburg, Fla.) tripled to the right field corner to score Aaron Grijalva (r-So., 1B, Redlands, Calif.) to give the Flames a 11-2 lead.

Liberty starter Tyler Light (Fr., RHP, San Bernardino, Calif.) picked up his first collegiate victory, pitching three scoreless innings.  Dane Beakler (Fr., RHP, York, Pa.) worked two innings, followed by Billy Daniels (Sr., RHP, Colonial Heights, Va.), who pitched 1 2/3 innings.  Douglas Wallace (Fr., RHP, Hurricane, W.Va.) entered in the seventh inning and pitched 1 1/3 innings, while Jamison Hendricks (Fr., RHP, Stafford, Va.) pitched a scoreless ninth for the Flames.  George Mason starter Eric Gibbons, one of three Patriot pitchers on the afternoon, took the loss to fall to 3-5 on the season.

Miller and John had two hits each for the Flames on the afternoon, while Spencer Wiggins and Tyler Youngs each had two hits for the Patriots.

Liberty continues its home stand with a three-game weekend Big South series with VMI, beginning Friday afternoon.  First pitch at Worthington Stadium is scheduled for 3 p.m.