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Three-Run Eighth Pushes Dukes Past Flames
James Madison scored three eighth-inning runs to break a 7-7 tie, sending the Dukes past the Liberty Flames, 10-7, Tuesday at Long Field/Mauck Stadium.
Liberty drops to 20-20 on the year. James Madison moves to 27-10 on the season. The non-conference game begins a five-game road swing for the Flames, who play 11 of their next 12 contests on the road.
Liberty jumped out to a 3-0 lead in its first at bat of the game. Second baseman Tommy Bussey (Jr., Boynton Beach, Va.) walked to lead off the contest. Two batters later, right fielder P.K. Keller (Sr., RF, and Clearwater, Fla.) singled through the right side of the infield for the Flames' first hit of the day. First baseman David Giammaresi (Sr., Coral Springs, Fla.) followed by blasting his third home run of the season over the right field wall to put Liberty on the score board.
In the bottom of the frame, James Madison pushed across its first run of the game. With one out, right fielder Trevor Knight singled and stole second. He then advanced to third on a fielder's choice by first baseman Steven Caseres and scored on an errant throw by Bussey in an attempt to turn a double play.
Cody Brown (Jr., RHP, Boca Raton, Fla.) upped the Liberty lead to 4-1 with a solo home run, leading off the second inning. The round tripper, a shot over the center field wall, was the third baseman's fifth of the season.
James Madison countered in the home half of the second with a solo home run of its own, to slice its deficit in half. Catcher Brett Garner led off the frame with his fourth round tripper of the year to make it, 4-2 Liberty.
In the third inning, the Dukes took their first lead of the game. With two men on, Caseres lined a one-out double off the left field wall, plating both runners and tying the game at 4-4. Third baseman McKinnon Langston followed with a RBI single to give James Madison a 5-4 advantage.
Liberty went back on top with two runs in the fifth frame, only to see the Dukes to come back in the bottom of the inning with one to tie the contest once again. With two outs, catcher Errol Hollinger (Jr., C, Upland, Calif.) walked and later scored on three consecutive wild pitches. Keller also walked and advanced to third by virtue of the wild pitches. Giammaresi cashed in the right fielder with a single to left field for a 6-5 Flames edge. In the bottom of the inning, James Madison knotted the contest at 6-6, when designated hitter Lee Bujakowski was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
The team's exchange runs in the sixth, as the game remained deadlocked. In the top half of the inning, designated hitter Garrett Young (Sr., Fountain Valley, Calif.) walked and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brown. After the designated hitter moved to third on a wild pitch, center fielder Joseph Feeley (Fr., CF, Chesapeake City, Md.) lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Young. James Madison countered with run on doubles into the right field corner by center fielder Brett Sellers and Langston to tie the contest at 7-7 in the home half of the frame.
The Dukes plated three two-out runs in the eighth inning to take a 10-7 lead. With two down in the frame, Langston walked and moved to second on a wild pitch. Garner followed with single up the middle, allowing Langston to score and put James Madison in front, 8-7. The next batter, left fielder Matt Browning, connected for a two-run home run to give the Dukes a three-run cushion.
In the ninth inning, Brown opened the frame with double to left field. After the next Flame was retired, pinch hitter Kenneth Negron (Jr., 2B/OF, Kingwood, Texas) dropped a double in front of the left fielder to put Liberty runners at first and third. However, James Madison reliever Turner Phelps retired the next two hitters to close out the victory for the Dukes.
Steven Evans (Fr., LHP, Amherst, Va.), the third Liberty pitcher of the contest, takes the loss to drop to 2-3 on the year. The freshman allowed three runs on three hits, striking out three and walking two in two innings of work. Phelps, who entered the game with one out in the second inning, moves to 3-0 on the season. The James Madison reliever gave up three runs on three hits in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out 10 and walked three batters.
Giammaresi drove in four runs with two hits in the contest for the Flames. Teammate Brown also had two hits for Liberty. Langston and Garner had three hits apiece for the Dukes.
Liberty travels to Norfolk, Va., tomorrow to face the Old Dominion Monarchs. Game time Wednesday is scheduled for 6 p.m.