Knoxville, Tenn. – Pitcher Trevor Delaite pitched into the eighth inning and designated hitter 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 NCAA Knoxville, Tenn. Regional at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, Friday afternoon.
With its 40th win of the season, Liberty advances to play regional host Tennessee 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.
Box Score Highlights
Records: Liberty (40-14); Duke (32-21)
Location: Knoxville, Tenn. (Lindsey Nelson Stadium)
WP: Trevor Delaite (12-1)| LP: Jack Carey (4-3)
LIBERTY – 1st INNING – Wagner grounds out, Betts scores, 1-0
LIBERTY – 1st INNING – McDyre grounds out, Anderson scores, 2-0
DUKE – 2nd INNING – Matt homers, 2-1
LIBERTY – 3rd INNING – Gulakowski homers, McDyre and Wagner score, 5-1
LIBERTY – 4th INNING – Mathieu homers, 6-1
LIBERTY – 4th INNING – Betts singles, Guy scores, 7-1
LIBERTY – 4th ININNG – McDyre singles, Betts scores, 8-1
LIBERTY – 4th INNING – Gulakowski homers, McDyre and Anderson score, 11-1
DUKE – 6th INNING – Rothenberg grounds out, Schreck scores, 11-2
DUKE – 8th INNING – Pauley singles, Schreck scores, 11-3
DUKE – 8th INNING – Nichols singles, Crabtree scores, 11-4
DUKE – 9th INNING – Matt homers, Loperfido scores, 11-6
· Liberty edged Duke in hits, 12-11. The Flames committed two errors.
· The Flames left five men on base, while the Blue Devils left nine.
· Left fielder Aaron Anderson and shortstop Cam Locklear each had two hits apiece for the Flames. Anderson also doubled and scored twice.
· Liberty third baseman Trey McDyre had two RBI, driving in runs with a ground out and a single.
· Reliever Fraser Ellard allowed two runs on three hits over 1 1/3 innings to finish out the contest for the Flames.
· Duke starting pitcher Jack Carey was roughed up for eight runs on seven hits over 3 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.
· The Blue Devils used five different pitchers in the contest.
· Duke right fielder Peter Matt led all hitters in the game with four hits. Matt had a double and hit his 14th home run of the year in the contest. He drove in three runs.
Beyond the Box Score
· This afternoon, Liberty made its seventh regional appearance in program history and their second under head coach Scott Jackson. The fifth-year head coach’s 2019 team also participated in an NCAA Regional.
· The Flames reach 40 wins in a season for the second time under Jackson and the sixth time in program history. Liberty also won 40 or more games in 1983, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2019.
· For the second consecutive regional, Liberty wins its opening game. The Flames defeated Tennessee 6-1 to begin the 2019 NCAA Chapel Hill, N.C. Regional on May 31, 2019.
· With his two home runs on the day, Gulakowski collects his 12th multi-hit game. In addition, he surpasses his previous career-high of five RBI which came in a 7-0 victory over Kent State on March 8, 2020 at Worthington Field at Liberty Baseball Stadium.
· With three hits, Betts has 19 multi-hit games and three contests with three or more hits on the year. He has reached base safely in a team-leading 43 consecutive games and has at least one hit in six straight contests.
· With two hits, Anderson now leads the Flames with 24 multi-hit games. The outfielder collected his 24th double in the contest. He entered the weekend sixth in the country in two-base hits.
· Playing in his school record 243rd game of his career, Locklear recorded his 15th multi-hit game of the year.