LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Duke baseball team took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth, but Liberty responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame to defeat the Blue Devils 4-3 Sunday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
Ashton Perritt (3-0) earned the win for Liberty, striking out two while allowing two unearned runs in the final two frames. Sophomore Andrew Istler (3-4) did not give up an earned run but suffered the loss after an inning of work. Istler allowed one hit, walked one and struck out one batter.
Liberty (27-21) totaled 10 hits for the game, led by Perritt, Bryan Aanderud and Dalton Britt with two apiece. Duke (25-23) had five hits in the game with Jeff Kremer, Chris Marconcini, Aaron Cohn, Grant McCabe and Kenny Koplove recording one hit each.
Junior Robert Huber pitched the first three innings for Duke and escaped a bases loaded jam in the first to keep the game scoreless early.
Liberty broke through with a pair of runs in the fifth to stake a 2-0 advantage. Perritt led off with an infield single and Aanderud followed suit with a base hit of his own. The first run of the game crossed the plate on a Trey Wimmer RBI single before Danny Grauer sent a sac fly to left for the Flames’ second run.
Liberty’s 2-0 advantage held until the eighth when Duke was able to capitalize on a Flame error to take a 3-2 lead. Sophomore Andy Perez drew the leadoff walk and Marconcini reached via a throwing error credited to the Liberty shortstop. After Cohn was hit by a pitch to load the bases, McCabe delivered the two-run single to tie the game at 2-2. McCabe then induced the throw from the mound on a steal, allowing Perkins, who came in to pinch run for Cohn, to score from third on the delayed double steal.
Much like Duke in the top half of the inning, Liberty was able to utilize a Blue Devil error to plate a pair of runs. Nick Lacik started the rally with tough at bat, ultimately drawing the leadoff walk after fouling off several pitches. Ryan Cordell followed with a base hit to place runners at first and second. Nick Paxton sent a groundball to first but the throw to second got away from Koplove, allowing Lacik to score the tying run. An intentional walk to Britt loaded the bases and a well-executed squeeze play brought the go-ahead run home.
Next up, Duke travels to Davidson Tuesday, May 7 for a 6 p.m., contest against the Wildcats.