CONYERS -- To end a losing streak against a county rival, Tyler Page was just what Rockdale needed. Page pitched a complete game and broke open a scoreless game with a run-scoring double in the sixth inning as the Bulldogs defeated Salem 3-2 in nonregion play Wednesday.
Rockdale (4-6) not only snapped a four-game losing streak and won against its crosstown rival for the first time since March 2011, but it handed Salem its first loss in eight games this season.
Visiting Rockdale broke the scoreless tie with a two-out rally in the sixth inning. With two outs, Austin Jewell hit an opposite field single. He was running on the pitch and scored when Page ripped a double off the left-center field wall for a 1-0 lead. Page moved to third on an errant relay throw, and that proved beneficial to the Bulldogs. Cory Gates ran for Page and Terrell McLaughlin's infield pop-up fell in, chasing home Gates to make it 2-0.
It was 3-0 in the seventh after Phillip Anschutz had a leadoff single and Gates, pinch-running again, scored on the back end of a double steal when Salem catcher Reed Hill's throw bounced into center field.That run turned out to be a big one for Rockdale as Salem rallied in the bottom of the seventh. Garrett Needham and Teriyan Rocker had consecutive singles to start the frame and were sacrificed to second and third. Cole Gibson's groundout scored pinch-runner Ian Moon, and Yorel James followed with a single through the hole at shortstop to get the Seminoles to within 3-2. But Page got pinch-hitter Alex Fernatt to ground out, completing a 90-pitch outing for the right-hander.Salem didn't have a hit through 4 innings and in that span had just one baserunner as Needham was hit by a pitch with one out in the second. After the hit batter, Page retired the next 10 batters in order.
Josh Webster broke up the no-hit bid with a bad-hop single in the fifth. Gibson followed with a bloop single and James walked to load the bases with two outs. Page wasn't fazed and he struck out Jordan Scott to escape with the shutout intact.
Needham, who also pitched a complete game, allowed just four singles before Rockdale scored in the sixth. The big right-hander gave up eight hits, but just one of the runs he allowed was earned in a 68-pitch effort.
Rockdale plays the third of its four consecutive games when it hosts Oconee County tonight at 5:55 p.m. Salem will try to bounce back when it travels to Monroe Area at 5:55 p.m.