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Liberty Completes Sweep Behind Page
By taking both ends of the twinbill, Liberty also completes a sweep of the three-game Big South baseball series. The Flames move to 12-6 in the Big South and 25-23 overall with the win. Charleston Southern falls to 4-12 in the conference and 15-28 overall.
Page pitched his second complete game of the season to run his mark to 4-5 on the year. The senior left-hander allowed two runs, both unearned, while scattering six hits. He struck out nine batters and walked just one in the game. Earlier in the season, Page went the full nine innings in a 6-1 victory over VMI on April 20.
Charleston Southern jumped out to its first lead of three-game series in the opening inning. With a runner on and two outs, designated hitter Derek Smith connected for his 10th home run of the season, giving the Buccaneers a 2-0 lead.
Liberty quickly cut the Bucs advantage to 2-1, in the top of the second inning. Garrett Young (Sr., DH, Fountain Valley, Calif.) singled to lead off the frame and stole second. After Aaron Grijalva (Sr., LF, Redlands, Calif.) was hit by a pitch, Tim Rotola (Jr., CF, Wichita, Kan.) moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Young then scored the first run of the game for the Flames on a ground out by Aaron Phillips (Sr., SS, Claremore, Okla.).
In the third frame, Liberty took advantage of a Charleston Southern miscue to take a 3-2 lead. David Giammaresi (Sr., 1B, Coral Springs, Fla.) singled to open the inning. Cody Brown (Jr., 3B, Boca Raton, Fla.) then lined a ball to left, which Buccaneer left fielder Steve Antolik dropped for a two-base error. Giammaresi plated the first run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Young. Moments later, Brown who had moved to third on Young's fly ball, scored on a wild pitch.
After being kept off the scoreboard for three innings, Liberty gave itself a cushion by plating four runs in the seventh. With one out, P.K. Keller (Sr., RF, Clearwater, Fla.) singled and Giammaresi walked. After a double steal, Brown plated the first run of the uprising with a fielder's choice ground out. Two batters later, Grijlava hit his second home run of the season, giving Liberty a 7-2 advantage. The left fielder had hit his first round tripper of the year, a grand slam in the ninth inning in game one of the doubleheader.
Meanwhile, after yielding the two runs in the first, Page (Sr., LHP, Cranberry Twp., Pa.) kept the Buccaneer batters in check. Page retired 12-straight hitters until center fielder Tom Burkett reached on a bunt single in the fifth inning. From the top of the second through the first batter in the fourth, the left-hander struck out seven-straight Charleston Southern batters. He went on to retire the side in order in the sixth, retiring 16 of 17 batters until the bottom of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Buccaneer shortstop Tyler Black opened the inning with a double and moved to third on a ground out. However, Page stranded the runner by retiring the next two batters.
Liberty added to the final margin with a run in the ninth. Keller doubled to begin the inning and later, scored on a ground out by Brown for the 8-2 final.
Charleston Southern starter Jesse Cadenhead falls to 1-1 on the year. The right-hander gave up three runs, one earned, on five hits over five innings.
Keller and Giammaresi had two hits each for the Flames. Black had two hits for the Buccaneers.
Liberty continues a six-game road swing with a nonconference game at Virginia Tech, Wednesday. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m