The Liberty Flames raced out to 6-0 advantage over the first 3½ innings and never looked back, downing the Duke Blue Devils 9-3, Wednesday evening at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Liberty catcher Jonathan Embry hit a two-run home run and drove in three runs in the contest. Meanwhile, Flames left fielder Gray Betts led all hitters with four hits, scoring two runs and knocking in two runs. Shortstop Cam Locklear collected three hits and two RBI for Liberty.
Liberty ups its record to 33-15 on the season. Duke drops to 28-19.
Box Score Highlights Records: Liberty (33-15); Duke (28-19) Location: Durham, N.C. (Durham Bulls Athletic Park) Attendance: 413 WP: Garret Price (7-2) | LP: Cooper Stinson (1-3)
Scoring Summary LIBERTY – 1st INNING – Embry homers, Betts scores, 2-0 LIBERTY – 2nd INNING – Betts singles, Guy scores, 3-0 LIBERTY – 2nd INNING – Locklear singles, McDyre and Betts score, 5-0 LIBERTY – 3rd INNING – Rohrer flies out, Embry scores, 6-0 DUKE – 4th INNING – Murray homers, 6-1 DUKE – 6th INNING – Maxwell singles, Cheek scores, 6-2 LIBERTY – 7th INNING – Highfill doubles, Galazin scores, 7-2 LIBERTY – 7th INNING – Betts singles, Highfill scores, 8-2 LIBERTY – 7th INNING – Embry flies out, McDyre scores, 9-2 DUKE – 8th INNING – Nichols singles, Cheek scores, 9-3 Notable Numbers - Liberty collected 13 hits in the contest. Duke had eight. Neither team committed an error.
- Embry hit his team-leading ninth home run of the season on the first pitch of his at bat in the game's opening inning.
- Liberty second baseman Ben Highfill and center fielder Jaylen Guy joined Betts and Locklear with multi-hit games. The two Flames had two hits each in the contest.
- Flames pitchers Mason Meyer, Garret Price, Cole Garrett and Landon Riley combined to hold the Blue Devils to two runs in the contest. They struck out 10 and walked five.
- Riley struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth.
- Duke's first hit of the game was shortstop Ethan Murray's fifth home run of the season in the fourth inning.
- The five Blue Devils pitchers struck out six and walked six.
Turning Point With a run in and runners on the corners with two outs, Duke looked to get back to within striking distance in the bottom of the sixth. After a mound visit, Liberty right-hander Garret Price induced third baseman Erikson Nichols to ground out to third base to end the scoring threat. The Flames took a commanding lead with three runs in the seventh for a 9-2 advantage.
Beyond the Box Score - Tonight's meeting was the first of two matchups between Liberty and Duke on the diamond. The Blue Devils and Flames will square off this upcoming Tuesday at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
- The Flames defeated the Blue Devils for the first time in Durham since an 8-2, 11-inning victory at Jack Coombs Field on March 5, 2014.
- Today's contest capped a nine-game road swing for the Flames, their longest of 2019. The Flames won three of the last four games to go 4-5 during the trip.
- With his ninth home run of the season tonight, Embry moves into third in the ASUN Conference in home runs. The Liberty catcher leads the conference in runs scored with 48.
- Betts had his second four-hit game of the season in the contest, extending his reached base safely streak to 23 consecutive games, the longest streak for a Flame this season. The freshman has at least one hit in 12 of his last 13 games. He now leads the ASUN with an on base percentage.
- Locklear knocked in two runs in the contest to bring his season's RBI total to 34. The total is a new career high for the junior. In addition, Locklear had two singles in the game to record his team-leading 15th multi-hit game.
Up Next The Flames begin their final homestand of the 2019 regular season on Friday. Liberty will host the Lipscomb Bisons for a three-game weekend ASUN series. First pitch for the series opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
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