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Shepherd Drives in 3; Artis Delivers Key Pinch Hit in Liberty's 8-4 Win over Duke

March 7, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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D.J. Artis broke a 4-4 tie with a pinch-hit double in the sixth inning, Tuesday.

D.J. Artis broke a 4-4 tie with a pinch-hit double in the sixth inning, Tuesday.

 

Right fielder Will Shepherd collected three RBI and pinch hitter D.J. Artis broke a 4-4 tie with a two-run double, powering the Liberty Flames past the Duke Blue Devils, 8-4, Tuesday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

Behind a strong effort from its bullpen, Liberty erased two Duke leads en route to the victory. The trio of Shane Quarterley, Garret Price and Jack DeGroat did not allow a run over the final seven innings of play, striking out eight. The trio did not allow a Blue Devils runner to pass second. Price, who pitched the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, moves to 1-0, earning his first collegiate win.

Shepherd drove in a season-high three runs in the game. The right fielder collected RBI with a double, a sacrifice fly and a ground out.

Artis gave the Flames the lead for good as a pinch hitter in the sixth by lining a double into the left field corner to plate two runs for a 6-4 Liberty advantage.

The Flames move to 8-4 on the season. The Blue Devils drop to 7-7.

Duke opened the contest with a run in the top of the first, only to see Liberty answer with two runs in the bottom of the inning. The Blue Devils used three hits, including a RBI single by first baseman Justin Bellinger to take a 1-0 advantage in its first at bats of the game.

Catcher Matt Allen singled and designated hitter Eric Grabowski walked to lead off the home half of the inning. Two batters later, a one-out grounder by Shepherd brought home Allen to tie the contest at 1-1. Left fielder Jake Barbee, who had two hits in the game, followed with a two-out RBI double into the right field corner for a 2-1 Liberty advantage.

Duke countered with three runs in the second to take the lead. Shortstop Zack Kone walked and scored on a hit-and-run double by center fielder Kennie Taylor for run of the inning and tie the game at 2-2. Left fielder Jimmy Herron followed with his second home run of the season to give the Blue Devils a 4-2 edge.

Liberty plated a two-out run in the third to close to within one on the scoreboard. With two away, first baseman Sammy Taormina roped a double into the left field gap and scored on a double into the left field corner by Shepherd to make it, 4-3 Duke.

The Flames knotted the contest in the fifth. Allen reached on an infield single and later, tied the game at 4-4 on a sacrifice fly by Shepherd.

Liberty took the lead with three runs in the sixth. Second baseman Andrew Kowalo began the bottom of the sixth with a single. Two batters later, center fielder Jack Morris drew a one-out walk. Called on to pinch hit, Artis followed by lining an opposite-field double into the left field corner, to plate both runners for a 6-4 edge. Later in the frame, Grabowski singled with two out to score pinch runner Josh Barrick for a 7-4 advantage.

In the seventh, the Flames added an insurance run. With one out, Barbee doubled for the second time in the contest and advanced to third on a single by Kowalo. Shortstop Cam Locklear then scored Barbee with a ground out for the final score of 8-4.

On a staff day for the Blue Devils, Nick Hendrix falls to 1-1. The fourth of seven Duke pitchers in the contest, Hendrix gave up three runs on two hits over 1 1/3 innings of work. He struck out two and walked one.

Each team had 10 hits in the contest. Allen, Barbee and Kowalo had two hits apiece for Liberty. Duke's Herron lead all hitters in the game with three.

All nine members of the Liberty batting order reached by either a hit or walk in the contest.

Up Next: Liberty will host the St. John's Red Storm, ranked as high as No. 9 in the country, for a three-game weekend series, starting Friday at Liberty Baseball Stadium. Friday's first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.