Second baseman Bryan Aanderud turns a double play during Liberty's 6-2 win over Siena, Friday. Aanderud had three hits in the contest.
Bryan Aanderud had three hits and drove in two runs, as the Liberty Flames defeated the Siena Saints, 6-2, Friday afternoon in opener of a four-game weekend series between the two teams at Worthington Stadium.
Aanderud led all hitters in the contest by going 3-for-4 with two doubles, driving in two runs and scoring a run. The game was the Liberty second baseman's second three-hit contest of the year, as Anderud had three hits during the Flames' season-opening victory over Richmond last Friday. The junior has had at least one hit in each of Liberty's first six games this season.
The Flames also turned four double plays to end several scoring threats by the Saints during the early innings. It was the first time since March 12, 2010, when Liberty turned five double plays in a 9-1 win over St. John's at Worthington Stadium that a Flames team has turned four or more double plays in a game.
With the victory, Liberty moves to 6-0 on the year. Siena drops to 0-5. The game was the first-ever meeting between the two schools in baseball.
The host Flames jumped on the scoreboard first in the contest, pushing across a run in the second inning. Back-to-back, one-out doubles by Aanderud and catcher Trey Wimmer gave the Flames a 1-0 advantage.
In the third inning, the two squads exchanged runs. Siena led off the frame by stringing together three singles, the final one by catcher Kyle Baldini, to tie the game at 1-1, only to see Liberty answer with run in the bottom of the inning.
Flames center fielder Andy Smith opened the Liberty third with a single and moved to second on a ground out by right fielder Michael Robertson. Two batters later, Liberty grabbed the lead for good, when Smith scored on an errant throw to first base by Saint third baseman Mike Allen on Aanderud's two-out grounder.
The Flames extended their advantage with a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth inning. During the fourth, first baseman Alex Close singled to open the frame and scored on a single by shortstop Zack Haley. In the fifth inning, Aanderud split the left-center field gap with double, plating Smith, who had walked, and Robertson, who had doubled, for a 5-1 lead.
Liberty added an insurance run in the eighth inning. Left fielder Ian Parmley doubled with one out, and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Smith.
In the top of the ninth, Siena scored on a RBI single by shortstop Ryan Metzler for the final score of 6-2.
Liberty starter John Niggli moves to 2-0 on the year following the afternoon outing. The right-hander gave up one run on 10 hits during 5 2/3 innings, striking out two batters and not walking a Saint hitter. Jacob Kemmerer pitched the final 3 1/3 innings to earn his first save in a Liberty uniform. The senior right-hander allowed one run on three hits. He struck out five batters and did not walk a batter.
Right-hander Justin Brantley, the Siena starter, falls to 0-1 on the season. He gave up five runs on eight hits over six innings. Brantley struck out two and walked two batters.
Liberty collected 11 hits in the contest, with Parmley and Close each adding two hits apiece to the Flames' total. Liberty has now had 10 or more hits in five of its six games this season.
Siena also reached double figures in the hit column, collecting 13 during the afternoon games. Four different Saints recording two hits each.
Siena and Liberty will meet again tomorrow afternoon in a doubleheader at Worthington Stadium. Game one is scheduled to start at noon.