DURHAM, N.C. – Willy Fox and Mike Murray drove in three runs apiece to lead Wake Forest to a 9-4 win over Duke Sunday afternoon that capped a three-game sweep over the Blue Devils.
Fox went 3-for-4 with all three of his hits and RBI coming in the first three innings, while
The Sunday finale was delayed for nearly two hours in the middle of the fifth inning after a thunderstorm set in and halted play until after After a delay of an hour and 40 minutes, play finally resumed with the
Sophomore outfielder Jeremy Gould and freshman shortstop Jake Lemmerman each finished 2-for-4, while Gould and classmate Gabriel Saade accounted for Duke’s other two RBI. Gould also had a single in each game of the series.
Duke Catcher Matt Williams gunned down two runners trying to steal second on the day, giving him 20 runners caught stealing this season. Williams appeared in the leadoff spot for the first time in his three-year career and went 1-for-5 to finish with one hit in each game of the series. Two-way outfielder Alex Hassan reached base with three walks and scored twice, improving his team-leading run total to 54 on the season. Right fielder Kyle Kreick also crossed the plate after hammering his 12th double of the year.
Duke starter Jonathan Foreman (2-1) took the loss and was taken out in the second inning after giving up five runs on four hits and a pair of walks. The outing ended a streak of six consecutive appearances with no more than two runs allowed for the sophomore right hander, who entered the game with the ACC’s lowest ERA at 1.68. The five-run appearance bumped Foreman’s ERA up to 2.55, which is the lowest among Duke’s starters.
Freshman Dennis O'Grady, junior Kyle Butler and Hassan cleaned up the final seven innings, giving up just three more run after a five-run second inning for the Deacs. Hassan was the most effective of the group and pitched four innings, scattering one run on three hits. Hassan struck out four and walked four while throwing 60 total pitches.
The Blue Devils wasted little time getting on the board and jumped ahead 1-0 in their first offensive series with a two-out RBI double from Nicolla. Kledzik retired Duke’s first two batters with little difficulty and jumped ahead 0-2 in the count against Hassan, but could not put him away. Hassan fouled off another strike before watching the next three pitches go by to draw his eighth walk in as many games. The two-out walk came back to hurt Kledzik just two pitches later when Nicolla mashed a double down the left field line to send in Hassan all the way from first base.
The Deacs followed suit in the bottom half of the first and sent in their first run with a two-run double by Fox that tied the score at 1-1. Fox’s two-bagger drove in leadoff batter Ben Terry all the way from first after the Demon Deacon leadoff man took a four-pitch walk to start off the game.
Duke responded with a pair of leadoff singles in the top of the third, but had the potential rally killed when Smith snagged a hard-hit ground ball by Nate Freiman to third base and converted it into a double play for the first two outs. Freiman’s grounder was well-hit to Smith’s glove side, but the
The Demon Deacons followed by taking advantage of a Duke fielding error to score two more runs in the third and go ahead 8-1. The first run came on an RBI groundout by Terry that sent in Goff, who opened the inning with a single and moved over to third on a fielding error by Lemmerman. Fox then came through with his third his in as many innings to send in Terry before McCurdy ended the inning by snagging a hard-hit line drive by Dykstra.
The Blue Devils refused to lie down, however, and scored twice in the fourth to cut the deficit to 8-3. Three of Duke’s first four batters reached with extra base hits, including Nicolla, who opened the inning with a towering shot well over the left field fence. Following Nicolla’s solo homer, Kreick burned Terry with a deep fly ball that landed on the warning track in center field and scored five pitches later when Saade mashed another double down the left field line. Kledzik would settle down, however, and stranded Saade on second base after retiring Duke’s next two hitters.
Duke kept fighting and scored again with two outs in the fifth, despite having to deal with a steady rain that began at the start of the inning. Kledzik was able to quickly sit down Duke’s first two batters, but issued a four-pitch walk to Hassan before Nicolla slapped his next offering to left field for a single. Gould then followed with another first-pitch single to left that scored Hassan from second before Kledzik was able to finally get the third out by striking out Kreick with a 1-2 breaking ball on the outer half of the plate.
The rain continued throughout Duke’s one-run fifth and forced officials to halt play for nearly two hours after the inning ended. The game resumed in the bottom of the fifth at approximately 3:, with several defensive changes for the Blue Devils. Hassan moved from center field to the mound after the delay, while Nicolla made his first appearance in right field this season. Freshman Tom Luciano also came off the bench to take over for Hassan in center field. Hassan faced the minimum in his first inning after his catcher erased a one-out single by throwing out Smith at second base on a stolen base attempt.
After Dykstra blooped a one-out single into center field in the top of the seventh, the Deacs had an opportunity to add to their 8-4 lead after Dykstra moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Hassan let him get no further than third base though, after inducing a weak groundout to the right side and sending Hood down swinging on a full count.
Wiesner ran into control problems in the top of the second and walked two Blue Devils on four pitches each. He settled down just in time, however, and got two straight outs to force Duke to strand both runners. The two left on marked the fifth straight inning in which Duke left one man on base and the third straight frame in which Duke left two on.
Hassan began to struggle with his command as well in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a leadoff double to designated hitter Weldon Woodall before issuing two straight walks to load the bases. He settled down after pitching coach Sean Snedeker made a trip to the mound though, and got out of the jam after allowing just one run on a sacrifice fly. After the RBI flyout from Smith sent in a run and left runners at the corners, Williams was able to throw out a runner at second base while keeping the one on third at bay in an attempted double steal. The runner caught stealing was the second of the day for Williams, who has now gunned down 20 runners stealing this season.
Duke put together another rally in the eighth, but once again came away empty-handed when Fox ran down a potential double in the gap from Hassan to end the inning with two more Blue Devils on base. Fox’s catch in the gap on Hassan’s deep fly left McCurdy and Freiman on base after Freiman came through with a two-out single to right field.
Duke will return to