Liberty limits JMU to three hits in 5-1 win
Four pitchers combined to limit James Madison to three hits and Liberty struck for five runs over the third through fifth innings to record a 5-1 non-conference baseball win on Tuesday evening at Worthington Stadium.
LU improved to 28-8 for the season while JMU dropped to 9-23-1 overall with its second loss against the Flames in Lynchburg this season.
In the first meeting on March 14, four Liberty pitchers combined to limit the Dukes to one hit in a 9-0 shutout. This time, it was four different pitchers who did not appear in the first game combining to hold Madison to three hits and one run.
Starter Brooks Roy worked four innings in the predetermined short start and allowed just two of the 13 batters faced to reach with a hit and a walk. Matt Marsh, Trey Lambert and Patrick Bankemper combined to toss the final five innings.
Left fielder Ian Parmley was 3-for-5 with a run scored to pace the Flames’ offense. Designated hitter Danny Grauer and first baseman Alex Close each recorded two hits while Close smacked a solo home run.
Freshman starter Ben Garner (Burke, Va./Paul VI) took the loss for JMU after allowing two runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings. Freshman left-hander Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings spanning the fifth through seventh.
Junior Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale) and junior left fielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) each singled to extend hitting streaks to 15 games. Bladel’s hit came in the first inning and Goss’ in the ninth. Sophomore third baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) hit an RBI double.
Parmley gave Liberty a lead it did not relinquish in the third when he led off with a single, stole second, reached third on a bunt and scored on a groundout. Singles by Grauer and Close put runners on the corners and a Josh Richardson RBI single made it 2-0.
In the fourth, back-to-back bunt singles put two on with one out. After a flyout, lead runner Ashton Perritt scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.
Liberty added two more in the fifth as Close led off the frame with a solo shot to right field. After a walk and a Trey Winner double, third baseman Dalton Sype singled to right to make it 5-0.
JMU’s lone run came in the sixth. Sophomore catcher Nick Merullo (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) led off with a hit by pitch. He was sacrificed to second and scored on Brown’s double to right center.
Tuesday’s game began a stretch of eight out of nine games on the road. That run continues Friday when JMU opens a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at Old Dominion at 6 p.m.