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Six Runs in the 11th Push Liberty Past Duke, 8-2
Second baseman Ryan Seiz's bases-clearing double was a part of a six-run 11th inning, as the Liberty Flames downed the Duke Blue Devils, 8-2, Wednesday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the top of the 11th, Liberty broke open the game with six runs. With one out, center fielder Ashton Perritt reached on an error by third baseman Jordan Betts, left fielder Nick Lacik singled to left field and right fielder Will Shepherd reached on a bunt single to load the bases with Flames.
Seiz followed by lining a double into the left field corner, clearing the bases for a 5-2 lead. Two batters later, pitcher Shawn Clowers singled in his first collegiate at bat to score Seiz with the fourth run of the inning. First baseman Alex Close capped the inning with a two-run, two-out singles for an 8-2 lead.
Clowers retired Duke in order in the bottom of the frame to close out the victory for the Flames.
Liberty moves to 8-6 on the year. The Flames have won five out of their last six contests. Duke falls to 7-5. The contest was the first extra-inning game for Liberty this season.
Liberty starting pitcher Jared Lyons held Duke in check during the first seven innings, but did not figure in the outcome. He allowed just two Blue Devil base runners, giving up two hits and not walking a batter. He struck out a career-high 10 batters. In control throughout his outing, Lyons retired the side in order in five of the innings he worked and retired 10 straight batters between a one-out single in the third and a two-out Blue Devil double in the sixth.
Seiz, the reigning NCBWA National Hitter of the Week and Big South Player of the Week, recorded his third three-hit game of the year and fourth in his last five games in the contest.
Liberty staked itself to a 1-0 advantage in the top of the third inning. Perritt reached on an infield single to lead off the frame and advanced all the way to third, as Duke third baseman Betts' errant throw to first sailed down the right field line. Lacik followed by lining a run-scoring single to left field for the game's first run.
In the bottom of the inning, Lyons prevented the Blue Devils from capitalizing on his error. Second baseman Matt Berezo opened the inning with Duke's first hit of a game, an infield single. After retiring the next batter, a wayward pickoff attempt by Lyons allowed Berezo to advance to third. However, Lyons struck out the next two batters to keep Duke off the scoreboard.
The Flames added to their lead during the top of the fifth. Perritt led off the inning with an infield single and moved to second on an error on a sacrifice bunt by Lacik. After right fielder Will Shepherd beat out an infield single to load the bases, Perritt scored on a wild pitch to give Liberty a 2-0 advantage. However, the Flames saw their chance of plating more runs in the inning come to an end, as Liberty had a runner thrown out attempting to steal and a the final out retired with a runner on third.
Duke tied the game in the bottom of the eighth. Betts singled to open the inning and moved to second on a one-out base hit by shortstop Kenny Koplove. Two batters later, designated hitter Aaron Cohn doubled into the left-center field, knotting the game at 2-2.
In the ninth inning, the Blue Devils moved the winning run to third base with two outs, but reliever Perritt was able to retired the next batter to send the game to extra innings. Catcher Mike Rosenfeld walked and first baseman Chris Marconcini singled to open the home half of the ninth. After getting the next batter to foul out, both runners moved into scoring position on a fly out by Betts. Perritt then got pinch hitter Andy Perez to pop out to the shortstop to send the game to the 10th inning.
Clowers moves to 1-0 on the season. He pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit. He struck out one batter.
Chris Kono, the 11th Duke pitcher in the contest, takes the loss to fall to 0-1. He gave up five runs on four hits over 1 2/3 innings. He struck out two batters.
Liberty collected 13 hits. Duke had seven hits in the contests.
The Flames return home to host the Kent State Golden Flashes, Friday. First pitch at Liberty Baseball Stadium is scheduled for 3 p.m.