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No. 2 Liberty Eliminates No. 8 UNC Asheville

May 22, 2008  Danville, Va.  RSS
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Senior Ryan Page pitched seven scoreless innings Thursday.

Senior Ryan Page pitched seven scoreless innings Thursday.

Liberty left-hander Ryan Page pitched seven scoreless innings to lead the No. 2 seed Flames past the No. 8 UNC Asheville Bulldogs, 10-1, Thursday in Game 4 of the 2008 Big South Baseball Championship at Dan Daniel Memorial Park.

With the win, Liberty advances to another elimination game, tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. against a yet to be determined opponent at Dan Daniel Park. The Flames move to 32-25-1 on the season. UNC Asheville's season ends with a 24-35 mark.

Page (Sr., LHP, Cranberry Twp., Pa.) threw seven strong frames in evening his season record at 5-5. The southpaw scattered four hits in the outing. The senior struck out nine batters and walked four.

The Flames threatened in the first inning. With two outs, David Giammaresi (Sr., 1B, Coral Springs, Fla.) reached on an infield single. The Liberty first baseman then moved all the way to third base on a wild pitch, before Bulldog starter Graham Baughn turned away the threat by getting the next batter to ground out to shortstop.

After Liberty starter Page retired the first 10 batters he faced, UNC Asheville shortstop Kevin Weidenbacher collected the first Bulldog hit of the contest with a one-out single to center field in the fourth. Third baseman Justin Schumer followed with a single through the middle. After the next batter fouled out, catcher Reed Keiser walked to load the bases. However, Page turned back the threat by inducing an inning-ending ground out to short by first baseman Danny Baatz.

Liberty got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning. Giammaresi drew a free pass to begin the frame and moved to third on a double to left center by Cody Brown (Jr., 3B, Boca Raton, Fla.). Garrett Young (Sr., DH, Fountain Valley, Calif.) followed by ripping a double down the left field line, plating both runners for a 2-0 Flames lead. Aaron Grijalva (Sr., LF, Redlands, Calif.) walked and Jeff Jefferson (Fr., RF, Danville, Va.) reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Young then made it, 3-0, scoring on a fielder's choice ground ball by Tim Rotola (Jr., CF, Wichita, Kan.).

UNC Asheville again loaded the bases versus Page, in the top of the sixth inning with one out. But once again, the senior hurler kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard by retiring the next two batters.

In the bottom of the inning, Liberty rewarded their southpaw hurler by extending their advantage to 6-0. Grijalva doubled off the wall in right-center field to start the frame. Jefferson plated Grijalva with a single for the first run of the inning. Jefferson, who had advanced to second on a throw to home plate on his RBI single, moved to third base on a sacrifice by Rotola. Two batters later, Kenneth Negron (Jr., 2B, Kingwood, Texas) walked. Errol Hollinger (Jr., C, Upland, Calif.) followed with a single to center field to bring home Jefferson. Giammaresi then doubled home Negron.

The Flames added two more runs in the seventh inning. After Grijalva was hit by a pitch and Jefferson singled with one out, Rotola lined a bases-clearing triple into the right field corner to up the Liberty advantage to 8-0.

In the eighth frame, Liberty scored twice more on a two-run single by Jefferson, while UNC Asheville pushed across a run in the ninth to get on the scoreboard for the final score of 10-1.

Bulldog starter Graham Baughn picks up the loss to finish the season at 2-3. He allowed six runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Jefferson led all hitters in the game with four hits. The freshman outfielder also drove in three runs. Giammaresi and Hollinger added two hits each, as eight of the nine Flames in the batting order had a hit in the contest.