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Page's Pitching Pushes Liberty Past VMI
With their victory in the rubber match, the Flames take the conference series, two games to one. Liberty moves to 8-4 in the Big South Conference and 20-19 overall. VMI drops to 10-5 in the conference, and the Keydets are also 20-19 overall.
Page (Sr., Cranberry Twp., Pa.) kept the Keydet batters off stride throughout the contest, pitching his first complete game since March 11, 2006, when he hurled a 3-0 shutout at George Washington. The senior gave up one run, while scattering seven hits to run his season's mark to 3-4. He struck out eight hitters, while not allowing a free pass.
The complete game is the second by a Liberty starter this season, as senior right-hander David Stokes (Locust Grove, Okla.) went the distance in a 5-4 victory at Radford on April 11.
VMI scored its only run against Page to take a 1-0 lead in the third inning. With one out, catcher Alex Haitsuka doubled and advanced to third on a ground out. Right fielder Sam Roberts then plated the Keydet catcher with a two-out single for an early advantage.
In the fifth, Liberty broke through against VMI starter Michael Bowman for a run to tie the game at 1-1. David Giammaresi (Sr., 1B, Coral Springs, Fla.) ripped a triple off the wall in center field to open the home half of the inning. The next hitter, Garrett Young (Sr., DH, Fountain Valley, Calif.), promptly knocked in the Flames' first run of the day, with a RBI ground out.
Liberty extended its advantage in the sixth inning with two more runs. With one out, Tommy Bussey (Jr., 2B, Boynton Beach, Fla.) doubled. Errol Hollinger (Jr., C, Upland, Calif.) followed with a single to cash in Bussey with the first run of the frame. P.K. Keller (Sr., RF, Clearwater, Fla.) made it three-straight hits, with a RBI single to center field for a 3-1 advantage.
With Page holding the Keydets off the scoreboard, the Flames added to their lead in the seventh. Aaron Grijalva (Sr., LF, Redlands, Calif.) singled sharply up the middle with one out and moved to second on a walk to Joseph Feeley (Fr., CF, Chesapeake City, Va.). After a sacrifice bunt by Aaron Phillips (Sr., SS, Claremore, Okla.) advanced both runners into scoring position, Grijalva scored on a wild pitch by Bowman. Two batters later, Hollinger singled to center to plate Feeley, giving Liberty a 5-1 cushion.
In the eighth, the Flames pushed across an insurance run. Giammaresi reached on an error and scored on a double by Young for the final score of 6-1.
Hollinger, Giammaresi and Grijalva, who was starting his first game since returning from an injury suffered March 28, each had two hits in the contest. Haitsuka had two hits, both doubles, for VMI.
Liberty will play 11 of its next 12 contests on the road, beginning with a five-game road trip. The Flames travel to Harrisonburg, Va., on Tuesday for a contest with the James Madison Dukes. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.