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Linza Has Strong Outing in 11-2 Win

February 20, 2010  Kennesaw, Ga.  RSS
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Keegan Linza

Keegan Linza

Liberty starting pitcher Keegan Linza allowed one run over the first six innings, helping the Flames down the Kennesaw State Owls, 11-2, Saturday afternoon at Stillwell Stadium.

Liberty moves to 2-0 to open 2010. Kennesaw State drops to 0-2.

Linza (Jr., RHP, Salisbury, N.C.) yielded just one run on two hits through six innings in his debut in a Liberty uniform. The right-hander struck out eight Owls and walked one, starting the season at 1-0.

Liberty led from start to finish, striking for two runs in the first inning. With two outs, center fielder Curran Redal (Sr., Moses Lakes, Wash.), third baseman Tyler Bream (So., Zelienople, Pa.) and right fielder Michael Robertson (So., Everrett, Wash.) each drew walks, loading the bases. The next batter, designated hitter Austin Taylor (Jr., Thomasville, Ga.), walked to force in the first run of the contest, giving the Flames a 1-0 lead. Catcher Jerry Neufang (Jr., Stafford, Va.) followed with the fifth consecutive bases on balls issued by Owl pitcher Sean Fream, plating another run for a 2-0 Flames advantage.

In the bottom of the opening frame, Kennesaw State pushed across a run to cut Liberty's edge to 2-1. Second baseman Sean McClurken tripled to deep center field with one out and scored on a balk.

Liberty plated two more runs in the second frame. Right-fielder Doug Bream (Jr., Elizabethtown, Pa.) and shortstop Matt Williams (So., Franklin, Tenn.) each drew walks to lead off the frame. Second baseman P.J. Jimenez (Jr., Yucaipa, Calif.) followed with a sharply hit single to right field, scoring Doug Bream from second base. The throw from right field got away from catcher Ronnie Freeman, allowing Williams to come home for a 4-1 Flames edge.

In the top of fourth inning, Liberty sent 10 men to the plate, scoring five runs. Williams began the frame with a bunt single and moved to third on an error by Owl third baseman Peyton Hart on a ground ball by Jimenez. Two batters later, Tyler Bream was intentionally walked to load the bases. Robertson followed with a two-run single through the middle, extending the Liberty lead to 6-1.

After a walk to Taylor once again loaded the bases, Neufang ripped a two-run double down the left field line to make it, 8-1 Flames. First baseman Trey Wimmer (So., Greenwood, S.C.) drove in the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to right field to push Liberty's advantage to 9-1.

The Flames added a run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Bream and another in the ninth on a RBI single by Williams.

In the bottom of the ninth, Kennesaw State shortstop Tyler Stubblefield opened the home half of the inning with a home run to left field for the final score of 11-2.

The four Liberty pitchers in the game struck out 13 Owl batters and walked one. Fream, the first of four Kennesaw State pitchers in the contest, took the loss.

Williams and Jimenez each had two hits for the Flames, while Neufang drove in a game-high three runs. No Owl had more than one hit.

Liberty will meet Kennesaw State tomorrow afternoon in the final game of the three-game series at Stillwell Stadium. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.