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Seiz's Home Run Powers Liberty Past Duke, 4-3
Second baseman Ryan Seiz belted his seventh home run of the year in the eighth inning, breaking a 3-3 tie and pushing the Liberty Flames past the Duke Blue Devils, 4-3, Tuesday evening at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
With two away in the eighth and the score knotted at 3-3, Seiz, the reigning Big South Player of the Week, blasted a 3-1 offering from Duke reliever Sarkis Ohanian over the right field wall and into the Blue Devils' bullpen for what proved to be the final score of 4-3.
Trailing 3-0 through six, the Flames tied the contest on home runs in the seventh inning by first baseman Alex Close and pinch hitter Andrew Yacyk. Close has hit a home run in each of the last three Flames' contests.
Liberty moves to 22-7 on the year. The Flames extend their winning streak to eight games, tying a season-high, and have won 16 out of their last 17 contests. Duke drops to 17-13 overall.
Duke pushed across the game's first run in the top of the second inning. With one out, designated hitter Aaron Cohn singled and advanced to second on a ground out. Center fielder Grant McCabe followed with a single, scoring Cohen for a 1-0 edge. The run was the first allowed by the Liberty pitching staff in 34 2/3 innings.
The Blue Devils added to their advantage in the top of the fifth. Second baseman Andy Perez opened the inning with a leadoff double and moved to third on a bunt single by left fielder Mark Lumpa. A squeeze bunt by next batter, third baseman Matt Berezo, plated Perez for a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Cohn dropped a RBI single into center field for a 3-0 edge.
Liberty struck in the seventh, tying the game at 3-3. With two outs, Close lined his fifth home run of the year over the left field wall for the Flames' first run of the game. Catcher Danny Grauer followed with a single and was aboard as pinch hitter Yacyk ripped a 1-0 offering from Ohanian over the scoreboard in left-center field to knot the game.
After Seiz gave Liberty the lead in the bottom of the eighth, Liberty reliever Matt Marsh retired the Blue Devils in order, striking out two to seal the 4-3 win.
Marsh, the third Liberty pitcher in the contest, moves to 1-0 on the season. The right-hander closed out the game with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing one hit. The reliever struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Ohanian falls to 0-1 on the year. The last of three Duke pitchers in the contest, the reliever gave up two runs on two hits over 1 1/3 innings. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
Liberty collected seven hits, with Close and Seiz each having two hits in the contest. Duke recorded 10 hits on the evening. Cohn had three hits for the Blue Devils.
The Flames take to the road for an afternoon contest, tomorrow. Liberty will travel to College Park, Md. to face the Maryland Terrapins at Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.