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Liberty Rallies for Two in 10th for 12-11 Win Over James Madison
The Liberty Flames rallied to tie the game in the ninth inning and then plated two runs in the 10th for a 12-11 victory over the James Madison Dukes, Tuesday night at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
After James Madison took the lead with a run in the top of the 10th, Liberty answered with two of its own in the bottom of the inning for the win.
Second baseman Bryan Aanderud opened the frame with a double to the warning track in the center field and scored on a single by center fielder Ryan Cordell to knot the score at 11-11. First baseman Alex Close then reached on a throwing error by Dukes' third baseman Ty McFarland and the Flames proceeded to load the bases, when shortstop Dalton Britt was walked. After the next two batters were retired by James Madison reliever Mark Gunst, right fielder Nick Paxton was hit by a pitch to force in the winning run and give Liberty the 12-11 win.
Designated hitter Danny Grauer had four hits, including two home runs and a double. He drove in four runs to pace the Flames comeback following an early 6-0 deficit. Cordell also belted a home run, collecting two RBIs and scoring three runs for Liberty.
Catcher Trey Wimmer, added to the 2013 Johnny Bench Award list earlier in the day, added four hits, a RBI and scored twice in the contest.
Liberty moves to 18-15 on the season. The win snaps a four-game losing skid for the Flames and avenges a loss to the Dukes earlier in the season. James Madison falls to 14-17 overall. The Dukes have lost eight straight contests.
James Madison jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, scoring three runs in the first and second innings. The first two Dukes walked to open the game and the next batter was hit loading the bases. First baseman Matt Tenaglia then walked to force in the first run of the contest. Left fielder Coby Roberts followed with a RBI sacrifice fly and second baseman Connor Brown singled to score another run for a 3-0 edge.
In the top of the second, the Dukes extended the lead. With two outs and the bases loaded, Tenaglia cleared the bases with a double into the right-center field gap for a 6-0 advantage.
Liberty not only got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second, but sliced the visitors' lead in half with three runs. Grauer led off the inning with his first home run of the night and his second of the season, a blast over the center field wall, for the first tally of the inning.
Aanderud was then hit by a pitch and moved to third on a wild pitch and a throwing error by Dukes catcher Bobby San Martin. After the second out of the inning, Britt and third baseman Jake Kimble hit back-to-back run-scoring singles to cut James Madison's lead to 6-3.
Both teams pushed across runs during the fourth. In the top of the frame, a triple by Brown and a single by shortstop Casey Goss produced two Dukes' runs. In the bottom of the inning, Cordell ripped his fourth home run of the year into the Liberty bullpen on the other side of the left field wall to make it, 8-4 James Madison.
The Dukes added a run in the top of the fifth. After right fielder Tyler Gregory reached on a bunt single to lead off the inning, he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by San Martin. Designated hitter Johnny Bladel followed with a single to plate Gregory for a 9-4 advantage.
In the home half of the fifth, Liberty cut into the Dukes' lead with four runs. With one out, Wimmer doubled and scored ahead of Grauer's second home run of the evening. Later in the frame, Close lined a run-scoring double into the left field corner and tallied a run on a single by Britt, trimming the James Madison lead to 9-8.
After the Dukes added to a run on a RBI single by San Martin in the sixth for a 10-8 edge, Liberty closed to within one in the eighth. Wimmer opened the inning with a double and scored on a double by Grauer.
In the ninth, the Flames knotted the game at 10-10. Kimble reached on a throwing error by Goss and moved to second on a fly out to deep right by left fielder Ashton Perritt. Two batters later, Wimmer singled through the left side of the infield to score Kimble and send the contest to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, Roberts and Brown each walked to lead off the frame. Two batters later, right hitter Cole Inturff singled to load the bases. San Martin then lifted a sacrifice fly to give James Madison an 11-10 lead and setting the stage for Liberty's rally in the bottom of the inning.
After starting the game in left field, Perritt pitched the 10th inning and picks up the win, moving to 2-0 on the season. The right-hander gave up one run on one hit. The fifth Liberty pitcher of the contest struck out two and walked two batters.
Gunst falls to 1-1. He allowed two runs on two hits in the 10th. He walked one batter.
Besides the teams combining for 23 runs on the evening, they also collected a combined 33 hits. Liberty recorded 18 hits, while James Madison tallied 15 hits.
Tomorrow, Liberty travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., to face the No. 1-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m.