DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke baseball team headed to extra innings for the second time this season but was unable to come away with the win, falling to Liberty 8-2 after 11 innings of play Wednesday evening at Jack Coombs Field. Redshirt junior Aaron Cohn laced a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at two-all, but the Flames plated six runs in the 11th to clinch the victory.
Cohn’s game-tying double was one of a career-high three hits for the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., native. He also doubled in the sixth and singled in the 10th, adding the two RBI and a stolen base. With Duke down to its final four outs and trailing 2-0, Cohn smashed his third double of the season to left center, driving in Jordan Betts and Kenny Koplove, who both singled in the inning, for the game-tying runs.
“I singled out Aaron [Cohn] in our postgame meeting because I thought they were great at bats,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “He had three really good at bats over the second half of the ballgame. Didn’t have two good at bats to start the game, but really made a great in-game adjustment and had three really good at bats. Had the key hit to get us back in it, to tie the ballgame at 2-2. We had our chances. The hit he had in the 10th again gave us another chance. [Liberty] did a better job of executing their bunt defense and bunt offense. That was the difference in the ball game.”
Liberty (7-7) notched six of its 13 hits in the 11th, erupting for a comfortable six-run advantage. Second baseman Ryan Seiz paced the Flames’ offense, adding a bases-clearing double to break the 2-2 stalemate as part of a 3-for-6 effort at the plate.
Liberty starter Jared Lyons pitched 7.0 scoreless innings in the no decision, striking out 10 without issuing a walk. Shawn Clowers (1-0) earned the win after yielding just one hit over the final 2.0 innings.
Duke (7-5) utilized 11 pitchers in the contest as redshirt senior Chris Kono (0-1) suffered the loss. Kono surrendered five runs, two earned, on four hits in 1.2 innings of work.
Two scoreless innings elapsed before Nick Lacik put Liberty on the board with an RBI single in the third. The base knock to left field drove in Ashton Perritt, who reached on an infield single to lead off the inning.
The Flames pushed their advantage to 2-0 in the fifth after Perritt once again legged out an infield base hit to begin the frame. The Liberty center fielder scored the second of his three runs on a wild pitch after advancing to third on a Will Shepard single.
Cohn’s key hit sent the game to the ninth, and senior right-hander Robert Huber struck out a pair to keep Liberty off the board. In the bottom half of the inning, senior Mike Rosenfeld drew the leadoff walk and redshirt junior Chris Marconcini singled through the right side to put the first two men aboard before Duke’s offense stalled, leaving the pair on base.
Duke opens ACC play this weekend at Jack Coombs Field, hosting No. 1 Virginia Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.