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Liberty pounds out 20 hits, stays alive at Legion regional

After watching his team strike out 13 times in a loss Friday night, Liberty baseball coach Mike Eshragh wanted to see his players execute better at the plate Saturday.

The Patriots did that, and then some.

Liberty pounded out 20 hits on its way to a 23-9, seven-inning victory over Albuquerque (N.M.) to stave off elimination in the American Legion Western Regional at Fairfield, Calif.

“We struck out 13 times at the plate (Friday) night. That doesn’t happen to us,” Eshragh said of his team’s 9-6 loss to Fairfield. “Responding today with a good offensive output shows these kids know how to make adjustments quickly. It was good to bounce back.”

Liberty (28-9) is one of four teams remaining in the double-elimination regional. The Patriots will play Lakewood (Calif.) at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Patriots led 9-0 after two innings, but Albuquerque scored three runs in the fifth to pull within 13-7. But Liberty scored 10 runs in the bottom of the inning to put the run rule into effect.

Liberty’s Jay Martz went 4-for-5 with four runs and two RBIs, and Michael Vargas was 3-for-4 with four RBIs.

Jesse Keiser went 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs for Liberty. Teammates Daniel Skelly, Nate Bennett and Marcos Rivera added two hits each. Skelly drove in four runs and Bennett three.

“We got to the field a little bit earlier today and had a little bit extra cage time,” Eshragh said. “The players knew what was on the table, and we responded right away.”

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