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No place like home for Braves

July 24, 2010|By C.J. LOVELACE/Staff Correspondent

SMITHSBURG -- Talk about a rebound game.

After dropping the first two games at Brunswick on Wednesday and Thursday, the Hagerstown Braves exploded for a 12-0 win in five innings Friday to deny the Brunswick Orioles a commanding 3-0 lead in the Blue Ridge Adult League best-of-7 championship series at Smithsburg High School.

The Braves sent 11 batters to the plate in the second frame and plated eight. They batted around again in the fourth, scoring four more times, to grab their first win of the series.

"We've got home-field advantage right now," said Braves pitcher Matt Ridenour, who benefited from the offensive outburst to earn the win. "This is a big swing after losing the first two. Hopefully we can get some things going and keep the momentum in our corner."

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Game 4 is today at 1 p.m., again at Smithsburg.

The Braves finished the game with 14 hits, with all but two coming in the second and fourth innings.

Matt Murray bookended the Braves' big second, singling to start it and capping it with a towering two-run shot over the fence in left to make it 8-0.

"I was just looking for a fastball to hit, got two, and drove them well," said Murray, who was the only Brave to score twice in the inning. "We didn't show up the first two games. It was just good to score some runs and give our pitcher some support."

Hagerstown once again got to Brunswick starter Cory Livengood in the fourth, chasing the righty and plating four more to force the 10-run rule in the fifth inning.

"We just couldn't get them out," said Orioles manager Roger Dawson. "Cory was getting the ball up. ... They just took advantage of it and hit it hard. We were battling out of the hole from the get-go."

Trey Cobb started the Braves' four-run fourth with a single, then was pushed home by Fred Kreiger's triple to right-center. Tyler Beard followed with a run-scoring double, ending Livengood's day.

Already down 10-0, reliever Alan Webber couldn't stop the bleeding against Braves clean-up hitter Marcellus Sumlin as he sent a 2-0 offering deep and gone to right-center to bring the scoring to a final, 12-0.

The Braves' No. 1 through 5 hitters went a combined 11-for-15 with nine runs scored and eight RBIs. Cobb and Beard each hit a perfect 3-for-3. Krieger and Sumlin led the Braves with three RBIs apiece.

Not to be overshadowed by the Braves' offensive output, Ridenour went the shortened distance, pitching five innings with just four hits allowed and six strikeouts.

Murray hopes this win can propel the Braves to at least even the series at 2-2 and continue to build momentum.

"When we come to play and we hit the ball, things happen," he said. "Hopefully we can use this home-field advantage to take it into the next couple games and win the series."

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