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Liberty Advances With Win Over Radford

May 23, 2008  Danville, Va.  RSS
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Dustin Umberger lead Liberty with a complete-game victory Friday.

Dustin Umberger lead Liberty with a complete-game victory Friday.

Liberty pitcher Dustin Umberger held No. 6 seed Radford in check throughout Game 7 of the 2008 Big South Baseball Championship, pitching a complete game as the No. 2 seed Flames defeated the Highlanders, 11-2, Friday morning at Dan Daniel Memorial Park.

With the victory, Liberty advances to Game 9 of the double-elimination tournament, tonight at 7 p.m., against the loser of this afternoon's contest between No. 4 seed Winthrop and No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina. Liberty moves to 33-25-1 on the year. Radford's season closes at 24-32.

Umberger (Jr., RHP, Hummelstown, Pa.) was in control throughout the game against the Highlanders, allowing two runs on six hits. The junior right-hander fanned 10 batters, while walking two to improve his record to 8-3 on the year. It is the second time this season, Umberger has pitched a complete game. It is also the second-straight year the right-hander has gone the distance in a Liberty victory in the Big South Championship. Last season, he threw a complete game in a 4-3 win over VMI on May 23, 2007 in the Big South Championship.

Liberty quickly jumped out to an early lead in the opening inning, scoring three runs on five hits. Kenneth Negron (Jr., 2B, Kingwood, Texas) was hit by pitch to open the home half of the first frame. Two batters later, David Giammaresi (Sr., 1B, Coral Springs, Fla.) laced a run-scoring double off the right-center field wall to plate Liberty's first run of the contest. The opening-inning outburst continued, as the next batter, Cody Brown (Jr., 3B, Boca Raton, Fla.), bounded a grounder over the head of the third baseman for a single to advance Giammaresi to third. Garrett Young (Sr., DH, Fountain Valley, Calif.) followed by singling sharply through the left side of the infield to give Liberty a 2-0 lead. Brown then scored on a fielder's choice by Aaron Grijalva (Sr., LF, Redlands, Calif.) to make it, 3-0 Flames.

Liberty took control of the contest in the fourth frame with a five-run uprising. Tim Rotola (Jr., CF, Wichita, Kan.) drew a walk to begin the inning and moved to second, as Aaron Phillips (Sr., SS, Claremore, Okla.) reached on a throwing error by Highlander pitcher Kyle Starr on his bunt attempt. Both runners then moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Negron. Errol Hollinger (Jr., C, Upland, Calif.) followed with a single to plate the first run of the outburst. Giammaresi followed with a run-scoring single through the right-side to deliver Phillips with the second run of the frame for a 5-0 advantage.

Brown ripped a double to left field to chase home Hollinger with the third run of the stanza. Young kept the scoring going with the Flames' fourth-consecutive run-scoring hit, a single, to make it, 7-0. Brown then scored on a sacrifice fly by Grijalva for an 8-0 Liberty edge.

After Umberger yielded only a free pass in the second inning through the first four innings, Radford broke through against the right-hander in the fifth frame. With one out, left fielder Justin Spears was hit by a pitch, ending Umberger's run of 10-straight batters retired. Catcher Nate Toth followed with the Highlanders' first hit, a single up the middle. Shortstop Ben Toth then dropped a single into right field to bring home the first Radford run of the game. A single by the next batter, Tyren Rivers, added another run to make it, 8-2 Flames.

Liberty pushed across single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth frame, Rotola walked to open the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Phillips. The Flames center fielder then advanced to third on a bunt single by Negron and scored on a squeeze bunt by Hollinger for a 9-2 lead. In the sixth, Phillips was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, upping the Liberty lead to 10-2.

The Flames added a run in the eighth on a RBI ground out by pinch hitter Tommy Bussey (Jr., 2B, Boynton Beach, Fla.).

Young led all hitters in the contest with four hits for Liberty. Teammate Brown collected three hits in the game. Nate Toth had two hits for Radford.