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VMI Edges Liberty, 5-3

May 19, 2007
|  Lexington, Va.
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Patrick Gaillard went 3-for-4 with a RBI on Saturday night.

Patrick Gaillard went 3-for-4 with a RBI on Saturday night.

Despite a ninth inning rally by the Flames, the VMI Keydets held on for a 5-3 victory over Liberty, Saturday night in the middle game of a three-game Big South series at Gray-Minor Stadium.

With the setback, the first in five games, the Flames fall to 13-7 in the Big South Conference and 32-22 overall. The Keydets improve to 10-10 in conference play and 34-18 overall. The outcome of the contest makes Liberty the third seed for the 2007 Big South Tournament, while VMI clinches the fourth seed with the win.

The homestanding Keydets jumped on the scoreboard in their first at bat of the evening. Eddie Van Es reached on a fielder's choice grounder to short and moved to second base on a throwing error by the Liberty second baseman. Van Es advanced to third on a wild pitch. After a walk put runners on the corners with one out, A.J. Yoder singled to score the first run of the contest. Two batters later, Brian Sandridge singled to centerfield, but center fielder Garrett Young (Jr., CF, Fountain Valley, Calif.) cut down the runner, Robert Crumpler, with a throw to home plate for the second out of the frame.

VMI continued the inning as Jacoby Fields singled to load the bases. Justin Hess followed with a double inside the first base bag to score two runs. However, on the hit, the Flames threw out their second runner of the frame at home to end VMI's first inning.

Leading 3-0, the Keydets added a single run in the third frame. Van Es singled to lead off the frame and scored on a double by Crumpler for a 4-0 advantage.

Liberty plated its first run in the top of the fourth. Young opened the inning with a bunt single and advanced to third base after two ground outs. Patrick Gaillard (Sr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) then singled sharply up the middle to plate Young.

In the bottom of the frame, VMI answered on a solo home run by Hess. The Keydet center fielder's first round tripper of the season pushed his team's lead to 5-1.

The Flames cut into the Keydet edge in the sixth. Cody Brown (R-So., 1B, Boca Raton, Fla.) singled to open the inning and moved to second on a fly out. Errol Hollinger (So., C, Upland, Calif.) then singled to left centerfield to cash in Brown, making it, 5-2 VMI.

In the ninth, Liberty would rally as the first two batters of the inning, David Giammaresi (R-Jr., 3B, Coral Springs, Fla.) and Phil John (Sr., RF, Linwood, N.J.), singled. A ground out advanced both runners into scoring position at second and third. Giammaresi then scored on a ground out by P.K. Keller (So., LF, Clearwater, Fla.). With John on third and two outs, reliever Cory Bachman appeared to have hit the next batter Young with a pitch. However, the home plate umpire ruled that the ball had been foul tipped before it hit the outfielder, bringing him back to the plate. Bachman then retired the batter with a fly out to end the game.

Flames starter Tyler Light (So., RHP, San Bernardino, Calif.) took the loss to even his record at 5-5 on the year. The right-hander gave up five runs on eight hits in three innings. Reliever Ryan Page (Jr., LHP, Cranberry Twp., Pa.) held the Keydets in check over the last five innings, yielding three hits and striking out four. VMI starter Trey Barham picked up the win to move to 9-4 on the season. He allowed two runs on eight hits over six innings. Bachman earned his seventh save, giving up one run on three hits in three innings of relief.

Gaillard went 3-for-4 with a RBI and Giammaresi had two hits to lead the Flames. Hess went 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Crumpler and Fields had two hits apiece for the Keydets.

Liberty and VMI will meet again tomorrow in the final game of the 2007 regular season for both teams and the finale of the three-game series at Gray-Minor Stadium. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m.