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Liberty Rallies for 4-3 Win Over Duke
After Duke scored three runs in the top of the eighth to take a 3-2 lead, the Liberty Flames answered with two in the bottom of the inning for a 4-3 victory over the Blue Devils, Sunday afternoon at the Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Liberty left fielder Nick Lacik used a 12-pitch at bat to draw a walk to open the home half of the eighth and moved to second on a single through the left side of the infield by center fielder Ryan Cordell. Two batters later, Duke first baseman Chris Marconcini's errant throw in an attempt to retire Cordell at second went into the outfield, allowing Lacik to score and tie the game at 3-3.
Shortstop Dalton Britt was then intentionally walked to load the bases with Flames. Third baseman Jake Kimble followed with a well-executed squeeze play to plate Cordell and give Liberty what proved to be the final score of 4-3.
The Flames move to 27-21 on the season. Liberty has won five out of its last six games. Duke falls to 25-22. It was the first meeting between the two schools on the diamond since 2010.
After a scoreless first four innings, the Flames plated two runs in the fifth for a 2-0 advantage. Outfielder Ashton Perritt beat out an infield single and second baseman Bryan Anderud singled to begin the frame. Catcher Trey Wimmer followed with a single to score Perritt and give Liberty a 1-0 lead. The next batter, Danny Grauer, then lifted a sacrifice fly to bring home Aanderud for a 2-0 edge.
However, in the top of the eighth, Duke broke through, benefitting from a Liberty error, for three runs. After Roy walked second baseman Anthony Perez to lead off the inning, Perritt came on to pitch for the Flames, promptly retiring the next two Blue Devils.
With two outs, Marconcini reached on a fielding error by Liberty's Britt to keep the frame alive. Designated hitter Aaron Cohn was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Center fielder Grant McCabe followed with a two-run single, knotting the game at 2-2. McCabe and pinch runner David Perkins then pulled off a double steal, scoring Perkins for a 3-2 advantage and setting up the Liberty eighth.
In the top of the ninth, Perritt retired the Blue Devils in order, sealing the 4-3 win.
All three Duke runs in the contest were unearned. Perritt, the final of three Liberty pitchers in the game, moves to 3-0 on the year. The right-hander allowed two runs on one hit over two innings of work, striking out two.
Right-hander Andrew Istler falls to 3-4 on the year. The final of six Duke pitchers in the contest, Istler gave up one run on one hit over one inning. He struck out one and walked one.
Liberty collected 10 hits in the contest. Aanderud, Perritt and Britt had two hits apiece for the Flames. Duke recorded five hits in the game.
Liberty will next travel to Buies Creek, N.C., for a three-game Big South series against the Campbell Fighting Camels, next weekend. The series will get underway at Jim Perry Stadium, Friday at 6 p.m.