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Liberty Held in Check by Duke
Liberty falls to 25-11 on the year. Duke moves to 22-16 on the season, by defeating the Flames for the second time this year. Liberty was held to less than three runs in a contest for only the fifth time this season in the game.
The visiting Blue Devils took advantage of two errors by the Flames in the second inning to take a 2-0 lead. With one out, third baseman Ryan McCurdy singled and advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw by Liberty pitcher Dustin Umberger. After the first out of the inning was retired on a ground out without the runner advancing, shortstop Eric Brady singled to move McCurdy to third.
With runners on the corners and two outs, Brady stole second, and when Flames catcher Nathan Thompson's throw to second bounced into center field, McCurdy scored for a 1-0 lead. On the error, Brady moved to third and came home on a single through the left side of the infield by first baseman Dennis O'Grady, giving Duke a 2-0 advantage.
Liberty got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning. Designated hitter Jeff Jefferson was hit by a pitch with two out and moved to third base on a single to right field by center fielder Curran Redal. Left fielder Doug Bream was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. A wild pitch by Pfisterer allowed Jefferson to plate the Flames' lone run of the night, halving the Blue Devil lead to 2-1.
Duke added single runs in the seventh and the eighth innings for the final score of 4-1. O'Grady led off the seventh with a single and later scored on a single by left fielder Jeremy Gould. In the eighth, a RBI single by Brady brought home the final run of the contest.
In the ninth inning, Liberty second baseman P.J. Jimenez and pinch hitter Justin Richardson each singled to put two men aboard with two outs. However, reliever Jonathan Foreman retired the next Flame to close out the win for the Blue Devils.
Liberty got solid outings from each of its three pitchers in the contest. Umberger takes the loss to fall to 0-2 on the season. He allowed two runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out four batters and walked on. Josh Richardson gave up two runs on three hits in 2 2/3 frames of relief, while Tim Dudley pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
Pfisterer moves to 3-4 on the year. He gave one run, while scattering three hits over eight innings. He struck out seven batters and walked two. Foreman gave up two hits in the ninth in recording his first save of the season.
Brady and O'Grady each had two hits in the contest for the Blue Devils.
Liberty hosts the James Madison Dukes tomorrow afternoon in the final contest of the Flames' six-game homestand tomorrow afternoon. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.