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Duke Falls 7-6 in Ninth Inning to No. 11 Miami
Wednesday 03/21/2010  -  Duke Sports Information
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Senior Jeremy Gould knocked his 200th career hit on Sunday against...
DURHAM, N.C. - Yasmani Grandal drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double in the top of the ninth inning to lead No. 11 Miami to a 7-6 win over Duke in the series finale Sunday evening at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Grandal came to the plate without a hit in the game, but pulled a ground ball down the first base line to send in Frankie Ratcliff for the winning run. Ratcliff started the ninth-inning rally with a leadoff single, which was his third hit of the day.

Miami (14-5, 5-1 ACC) fell behind 5-1 early in the game, but chipped away at Duke's lead before tying the score at 6-6 in the top of the seventh on an RBI double from Stephen Perez. Ratcliff also scored the tying run in that inning after leading off with a triple. Ratcliff, a freshman second baseman, also knocked a two-run homer to finish a double short of hitting for the cycle.

Duke (12-7, 2-4 ACC) knocked Miami left-hander Eric Erickson around for six runs in five complete innings, though only three of those were earned. The Hurricane bullpen was a different story, however, as Eric Whaley, Sam Robinson (1-0) and David Gutierrez combined to hold Duke scoreless over the final four innings. Whaley surrendered just one hit over 2.2 innings, while Robinson notched the win and Gutierrez threw a scoreless ninth for his fourth save.

Duke junior Dennis O'Grady, in his second straight Sunday start, held Miami to six hits and five runs - though only two earned - over six complete innings and left with a 6-5 lead. Freshman Marcus Stroman (2-1) took over in the seventh, but left with his first career loss after surrendering the tying run in the seventh and the go-ahead run with two outs in the ninth.

Duke senior Jeremy Gould knocked two doubles in the game, the last of which was his 200th career hit. With a career .335 batting average, Gould became the 16th Duke player in school history to reach the 200-hit mark. He was one of three Blue Devils with two hits in the game, joining Ryan McCurdy, who went 2-for-2, and O'Grady, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a double.

O'Grady retired the side in order in his first two innings, while Erickson nearly matched him with two scoreless innings as well. O'Grady got into some trouble in the top of the third, however, after surrendering consecutive singles to open the inning. One of those runs would eventually score for a 1-0 Miami lead, but O'Grady got some help from his defense to limit the damage. With no outs and runners at the corners, Miami tried a double steal, but the Blue Devils were ready for it. McCurdy received O'Grady's offering - which was also strike three to Ratcliff - and fired the ball down to second base. Stroman received the ball at second just as Nathan Melendres took off from third base and fired the ball back to the plate where McCurdy gloved it and applied the tag for out number two. O'Grady then dished out his second straight strikeout to end the inning with Miami ahead 1-0.

Duke struck back in the bottom of the third and tied the score at 1-1 on a sacrifice fly from freshman Eric Brady. Brady came to the plate with men at the corners following leadoff singles from Joe Pedevillano and McCurdy, and lifted a fly ball into right field. Pedevillano tagged up on the play and executed a perfect tap slide into the plate to beat the throw from the outfield.

O'Grady worked around a walk in the top of the fourth inning to keep the game tied at 1-1 and was rewarded with four runs from his offense in the bottom half of the inning for a 5-1 lead. A double from Gould started the rally, which included an RBI single from Brian Litwin and a suicide squeeze bunt from McCurdy.

The Hurricane bats awoke in the top of the fifth, however, as Miami pounded two doubles and a two-run homer as part of a three-run outburst that cut Duke's lead to 5-4. Following a leadoff single from Broad and an RBI double from Melendres, Ratcliff lifted a high fly ball over the right-center field wall for at two-run homer. Perez followed with another double, but was left stranded at second base after O'Grady retired the next two hitters to end the inning.

O'Grady helped himself out in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out RBI double that push Duke's lead to 6-4. O'Grady's two-bagger was the second of consecutive two-out doubles with the other coming from Gould. Gould's double hit just a few feet from the top of the 32-foot wall in left field and was his 200th career hit.

Duke tried to scratch across one more run in the bottom of the sixth, but had that opportunity spoiled by Melendres and Ratcliff, who teamed up on a relay to throw out McCurdy at the plate. With two outs, Lemmerman came to the plate with McCurdy on first base and slapped a double down the right field line. McCurdy reached third base and got the green light to the plate, but was met there with Ratcliff's relay throw for the third out.

Duke's 6-5 lead evaporated in the top of the seventh when the top of the Hurricane lineup strung together three straight hits on the way to sending in the tying run. Duke brought in Stroman to replace O'Grady on the mound to start the inning, but Ratcliff welcomed him to the game with a two-strike single to straight-away center field. One at bat later, Perez doubled him in before Lawson kept the hits coming with another single. Scott Lawson's base hit left runners at the corners with no outs, but Stroman found his groove in time to get out of the inning with no further damage.

The Hurricanes could not be held down for long though, as Grandal drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double in the top of the ninth inning. Grandal came to the plate with Ratcliff on second base and pulled a ground ball down the first base line where it rolled all the way to the right field corner. It was the first hit of the day for Grandal, who entered Sunday with a team-high .381 batting average.

Down to their final three outs, the Blue Devils had to face Gutierrez in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Blue Devils were on the verge of breaking through after putting two men on base with one out, but had all of their momentum killed when Gutierrez fielded a ground ball on the mound and fired to second base to start a game-ending double play.

Next up for Duke is a midweek showdown at Davidson on Tuesday, March 23, at 7 p.m. Duke will then head north to Chestnut Hill, Mass., for a three-game ACC showdown with Boston College on March 26-28.

-d-u-k-e-


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