JMU baseball outlasts Liberty, 13-10, in marathon game
JMU racked up 17 hits on the evening, its second-highest tally of the season, as it won its second road game of the year and move to 16-25. The Flames had 13 hits of their own, but could not take advantage of three JMU errors and slipped to 28-17 in 2015.
Freshman second baseman Kyle McPherson and junior shortstop Chad Carroll led the offensive onslaught for JMU, putting forth a pair of 3-for-4 performances. Carroll drove in a run and scored two more while McPherson picked up an RBI of his own.
Five other Dukes notched a pair of hits each, led by senior right fielder Kevin Husum, who scored three times and drove in a pair of runs, and junior catcher Bobby San Martin, who drove in a game-best three runs in just three at-bats after entering the game in the top of the fifth.
Sophomore first baseman Brett Johnson also went 2-for-5 for JMU, driving in a run and scoring another as he reached base for the 24th consecutive contest.
Carroll scored the Dukes’ first run after he yanked a two-out single through the left side. Johnson’s single up the middle moved Carroll to third and he would later come home on the first of four wild pitches from Liberty to make it 1-0 before the Flames came to the plate.
JMU had its first big inning in the second when it scored four times on five hits, all consecutively. After a leadoff lineout, junior third baseman Kyle Weston picked up an infield single to start the rally that would bring three runs around to score. Johnson would later follow with a bases-loaded fly ball to right that brought Husum home and gave JMU a 5-0 lead.
The Flames struck for four runs of their own in the bottom of the second, but JMU matched their output in the top of the third. The Dukes would score four more runs on just three hits in the frame, highlighted by Weston’s RBI double to left-center, one of just two extra-base hits for JMU on the evening.
Liberty spent much of the remaining frames chipping away at the Dukes’ lead, scoring two runs each in the third and fourth innings. After JMU tacked on a run in the top of the fifth to make it 10-8, the Flames completed the comeback in the sixth, tying things at 10-10 on a first-and-third rundown.
The two teams were both held scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings, the only two empty frames of the contest, before JMU struck for the decisive runs in the top of the ninth. The Dukes got their first two hitters on base and McPherson bunted them to second and third before Liberty elected to intentionally walk Carroll to load the bases.
After a three-pitch strikeout, sophomore designated hitter Logan Corrigan bounced a grounder to shortstop on the first pitch he saw. However, the throw to first base got away, allowing freshman pinch-hitter Evan Hanifee to come home for the eventual game-winning run. San Martin immediately followed with a first-pitch single up the middle, bringing Husum and Carroll home to give the Dukes a pair of insurance runs and make it 13-10.
Freshman left-hander Tucker McCoy, who entered the game in the bottom of the sixth, pitched around a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth to cap off his second collegiate win. The Penn Laird, Va., native threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings to move to 2-3, striking out three without walking any and yielding just three hits.
Right fielder Will Shepherd went 3-for-5 on the evening to lead the Flames’ offense and Ashton Perritt took the loss for Liberty, exiting in the ninth. with the game-winning run on base, after four complete innings.
The Dukes will be back in action this weekend when they face in-state foe Radford in a three-game series. JMU will travel to Radford for contests on Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively, before welcoming the Highlanders to Harrisonburg on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.