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Flames Fall to James Madison, 11-2
The Flames drop to 23-16 on the year, while the Dukes improve to 13-25.
Designated hitter Kellen Kulbacki staked James Madison to a 1-0 advantage in the first inning. The National Player of the Week connected for his 15th home run of the season, a solo shot over the left field wall, to put the Dukes on the scoreboard.
James Madison extended its edge with two more runs in the second. Catcher Brett Garner opened the frame with a double and scored on a single by Rob Altieri. After a wild pitch, Altieri plated the second run of the inning on a single by Joe Lake for a 3-0 lead.
The Dukes took advantage of Liberty errors in the third and fifth innings. In the third, two Liberty committed two fielding miscues, which allowed the first two James Madison hitters to reach. JMU scored an out later as Garner rapped a two-run double into the left center field gap to make it, 5-0. In the fifth, Mitchell Moses doubled, stole third, and came home as the catcher's throw got away at third base.
After being held in check through five frames by Dukes starter Jacob Cook, Liberty broke through for a run in the bottom of the sixth against reliever Dustin Crouch. Garrett Young (Jr., CF, Fountain Valley, Calif.) walked and Tim Nanry (Sr., DH, Rochester, N.Y.) singled to open the frame. After a fielder's choice, Aaron Grijalva (R-Jr., 1B, Redlands, Calif.) received a base on balls to load the bases. Phil John (Sr., RF, Linwood, N.J.) followed with a single to plate Young, making it 6-1, James Madison. However, Crouch settled down to end the threat by retiring the next two Liberty hitters.
The Dukes added three more runs in the seventh for a 9-1 lead. A Moses one-out double brought home two runs, and the other tally came home on a sacrifice fly by Matt Browning.
Liberty scored a single run in the bottom of the frame. Kenneth Negron (So., 2B, Kingwood, Texas) walked and moved to second on a passed ball. The Flames' second baseman then advanced to third on a single by P.K. Keller (Jr., LF, Clearwater, Fla.) and tallied Liberty's second run of the afternoon on a double play.
James Madison scored twice more in the ninth for the final outcome.
Liberty starter Tyler Light (So., RHP, San Bernardino, Calif.) falls to 4-3 on the season. The right-hander, the first of six Flames to take the hill in the game, allowed three runs on four hits over two innings. Cook, who became James Madison's all-time appearance leader with his start, runs his mark to 4-3. The right hander held the Flames scoreless on four hits in five innings.
Keller recorded his third three-hit game in the last five contests and Nanry went 3-for-4 with a walk to pace the Flames. Moses had three hits for the visiting Dukes, while teammates Garner and Altieri had two hits apiece.
Liberty steps back into Big South Conference play this weekend by hosting the Radford Highlanders in a three-game series, beginning Friday. Game time on Friday is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday's first pitch is set for Noon, while Sunday's series finale is slated for 1 p.m.