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Liberty opens regional with easy victory

If Liberty baseball coach Mike Eshragh could have scripted how he wanted his team’s first game in the American Legion Western Regional to unfold, it couldn’t have been much different from what happened Thursday.

Christopher Bradford pitched six scoreless innings and Nathan Bennett drove in four runs as Liberty rolled to an 11-0, seven-inning victory over Castroville (Texas) at Fairfield, Calif.

"Bradford did a great job, we executed at the plate and got out in seven (innings), which is a huge bonus in a double-elimination tournament," Eshragh said.

Liberty (27-8) will meet host Fairfield at 6:30 p.m. today. The Patriots appear to be set up well, with starting pitchers Marcos Rivera and Bennett still available.

Bradford scattered five hits, walked two and struck out four in six innings.

"(Bradford) came out and gave us his best effort," Eshragh said. "He got out of some jams and had some quick innings. Once again we’re in a good spot with our pitching."

Liberty scored four runs in the top of the first inning, capped by a two-run single from Bennett. The Patriots scored four runs in the sixth to put the run rule into effect.

James Marz, Jesse Keiser, Joseph Maurer and Daniel Skelly each had a double among their two hits for the Patriots.

Griffin Kelly knocked in two runs for Liberty, and Rivera doubled and scored two runs.

"We executed when we needed to," Eshragh said. "Bradford pitched a great game, and we took advantage of mistakes."

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