Liberty downs Duke, 11-6, to open Knoxville Regional
Trevor Delaite pitched into the eighth inning, and Brady Gulakowski hit two three-run home runs, as the Liberty Flames topped the No. 19th ranked Duke Blue Devils, 11-6, in the opening game of the Knoxville Regional at Lindsey Nelson Stadium Friday afternoon.
With its 40th win of the season, Liberty advances to play the winner of this evening’s game between regional host Tennessee and Wright State tomorrow at 6 p.m.
Delaite, a National Pitcher of the Year finalist, gave the Flames another strong outing. The left-hander allowed four runs on eight hits over 7 2/3-plus innings. He struck out five and walked one. He picks up his 12th victory of 2021 to set the Liberty program record for wins in a season.
Gulakowski hit two home runs in a game for the first time in his career and collected a career-high six RBI. The designated hitter belted home runs in the third and fourth innings, upping his total to 10 on the year. Flames first baseman Logan Mathieu also hit his 14th home run of the season in the contest, leading off the fourth.
Catcher Gray Betts led the Flames with three hits, including two doubles. He had an RBI and scored two runs.
Leading 5-1, the Flames plated six runs in the fourth inning to jump out to a commanding 11-1 advantage after four innings of play. Liberty never trailed in the game, scoring two runs in the first.
Liberty wins 40 games for the sixth time in program history and moves to 40-14 on the year. Duke, the 2021 ACC Champions, sees its 12-game winning streak come to an end and drops to 32-21 on the season.