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Liberty Falls to Duke, 3-1

March 24, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Duke Blue Devils edged the Liberty Flames, 3-1, in a non-conference contest at Liberty Baseball Stadium, Tuesday afternoon.

First baseman Alex Close collected two hits, including a double, walked and scored the Flames' lone run on the afternoon.

Liberty falls to 14-9 overall. Duke moves to 19-6.

The visiting Blue Devils staked themselves to a 1-0 advantage in the third. Shortstop Max Miller led off the inning with an infield single. After Miller was erased at second on a fielder's choice grounder by second baseman Andy Perez, center fielder Michael Smiciklas tripled, scoring Perez with the contest's first run.

Liberty tied the game in the fourth. With one out, Close ripped a double off the right center field wall. Left fielder Andrew Yacyk followed with a double into the same gap, knotting the game at 1-1.

After the Flames moved runner to third base with one out and were unable to score in the fifth, Duke took the lead for good in the sixth. First baseman Justin Bellinger drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on a single by designated hitter Grant McCabe. Bellinger then scored on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Jack Labosky to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 advantage.

In the top of the ninth, Duke added an insurance run on sacrifice fly for what proved to be the final score of 3-1.

The Flames did bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, after shortstop Dalton Britt walked with one out. However, Blue Devils reliever Mitch Stallings retired the next two Liberty batters to close out the contest and record his second save of the year.

Liberty starting pitcher Ashton Perritt drops to 1-3 on the season. The right-hander gave up two runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out one and walked two batters.

Reliever Ryan Day, the third of six Duke pitchers to take the mound in the contest, moves to 1-0 on the year. The freshman right-hander pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out one.

Pitching held the upper hand on the day. Liberty collected five hits, while Duke recorded eight.

Tomorrow, Liberty will host the No. 12 Virginia Cavaliers at Liberty Baseball Stadium. First pitch is schedule for 3 p.m.