A stellar performance from their pitching staff pushed the Liberty Flames to a 5-1 win over the James Madison Dukes, Tuesday at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Four Flames pitchers combined to hold a potent James Madison batting lineup to one run on three hits in the game. The quartet of Zander Clouse, Garret Price, Cody Gamble and Jack DeGroat gave up one extra base hit and together faced three more batters than the minimum of 27.
Liberty moves to 12-7 on the season. With the win, the Flames close out their 11-game homestand with a 7-4 mark. Liberty has won four of its last five games and has yet to fall in a midweek contest in 2017, improving to 4-0. James Madison falls to 14-5 on the year.
Liberty struck for three runs in the third. Shortstop Cam Locklear led off the bottom of the inning with a single and stole second. After left fielder Jake Barbee walked, catcher Matt Allen lined a single into right field, plating Locklear for a 1-0 edge. First baseman Sammy Taormina followed by dumping the first pitch he saw into right field to score Barbee and give the Flames a 2-0 lead. On the single, Allen moved to third and came home on a passed ball for a 3-0 advantage.
Liberty added another run in the fourth. Second baseman Andrew Kowalo singled and advanced to second on a one-out single by center fielder D.J. Artis. Designated hitter Eric Grabowski followed with a run-scoring single to up the home team's lead to 4-0.
James Madison broke through for its only run of the afternoon in the top of the fifth. With two out, designated hitter Zach Tondi hit his second home run of the year, cutting the Flames' advantage to 4-1.
In the bottom of the inning, Liberty answered with the final run of the contest. Taormina walked to open the inning and advanced to second and third on wild pitches. Right fielder Will Shepherd followed with a double into the left-center field gap for a 5-1 lead.
Price moves to 2-0 on the season. Price relieved Liberty starter Zander Clouse, who did not allow a run over the first four innings, and gave up one run on one hit during two innings of relief.
JMU starting pitcher Michael Bechtold drops to 1-2 on the year. The freshman right-hander allowed four runs on seven hits over the first four innings. He struck out four and walked three.
Liberty collected 10 hits, its four straight contest with 10 or more. All nine batters in the Flames' lineup had a hit in the contest with reigning Big South Player of the Week Artis having two. There were no errors in the game.
Up Next: Liberty will take to the road for its first Big South Conference series away from Liberty Baseball Stadium, this weekend. The Flames will travel to Charleston, S.C., for a three-game series with the Charleston Southern Buccaneers. The series gets under way Friday at 6 p.m.