Liberty tops James Madison, 4-1

liberty baseballThe Liberty Flames turned back the James Madison Dukes, 4-1, Tuesday afternoon at Liberty Baseball Stadium.

Right-hander Brady Stamper (1-0) picked up the win in his collegiate debut, pitching five scoreless innings. The freshman scattered three hits, while striking out eight and walking two.

Catcher Jonathan Embry went 3-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored, while Tre Todd belted his second home run of the year for the Flames in the victory.

With the win, Liberty moves to 4-0 for the first time since 2012. James Madison drops to 3-1.

The Flames staked themselves to a 1-0 edge in the home half of the third inning. With one out, center fielder D.J. Artis walked, stole second base and moved to third when Dukes’ catcher Zach Tondi’s throw to second sailed into the outfield. Third baseman Trey McDyre followed with a run-producing ground out to give Liberty a 1-0 advantage.

In the top of the fourth, the Flames threw out a runner at home plate, attempting to score. With two out, designated hitter Conor Hartigan, who reached on a single, tried to tie the game, but was thrown out by Liberty shortstop Cam Locklear’s relay throw on a double to left field by first baseman Michael Morgan.

Liberty added to its advantage in the fifth. Second baseman Will Wagner led off the inning with a single, the first hit of his Flames’ career for the freshman. After stealing second with one out, Wagner made it 2-0, Liberty by scoring on a two-out single by Embry.

James Madison cut into the host team’s edge in the seventh. Tondi opened the inning with a home run over the right field wall, his first of the season, slicing the Flames’ advantage to 2-1. Later in the inning, the Dukes threatened to tie the contest by moving a runner into scoring position with one out, but Liberty right-hander Zack Brockman battled back to get the next batter to fly out and ended the inning by striking out shortstop Josh Jones.

Todd’s home run in the eighth gave the Flames two insurance runs. With Embry aboard after he was hit by a pitch, Todd ripped a 2-0 pitch over the right-center field wall for what proved to be the final score of 4-1.

Flames right-hander Ben Good pitched a scoreless ninth inning to secure the victory and record his second save in as many appearances.

James Madison right-hander Kevin Kelly drops to 0-1 on the year. Kelly allowed one run on three hits over three innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Liberty collected eight hits in the contest. James Madison had five and committed the game’s only error.

Up Next: The Flames will open a three-game series with the Binghamton Bearcats at Liberty Baseball Stadium on Friday. First pitch for the series opener is scheduled for 3 p.m.


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