DURHAM, N.C. - Dennis O'Grady tossed 6.2 innings to earn the win in game one and then drove in a career-high five RBI in game two to lead Duke to wins of 7-5 and 6-5 in Tuesday's double header against Presbyterian at Durham Athletic Park.
O'Grady (1-4) started game one on the mound and scattered three runs on eight hits while also driving in two RBI in the opener. He then shifted to first base for game two and knocked a two-run double and three straight sacrifice fly balls, including the go-ahead RBI flyout in the seventh inning. The two-way freshman extended his hitting streak to five games, doubled for the fourth straight outing and drove in at least one RBI for the fifth straight game.
Game one also featured four RBI from sophomore center fielder Will Piwnica-Worms, who knocked a solo homer and a three-run double. Jake Lemmerman collected three hits in each contest as Duke improved to 21-4 in non-conference games.
The Blue Devils (28-21, 7-17 ACC) got dominant relief outings from senior Christopher Manno in game one and freshman Devin Burke (3-1) in game two. Manno entered game one with a three-run lead in the seventh inning and recorded six of the game's final seven outs by strikeout to clinch his team-leading fourth save. Burke, meanwhile, took over with a 5-4 deficit with one out in the fifth and surrendered just three hits - all singles - without walking or hitting a batter over the final 4.2 innings of the game.
Game One: Piwnica-Worms Delivers Four RBI, Manno Secures Win Out of Bullpen
Piwnica-Worms cracked a three-run double and a solo homer in consecutive at bats in game one to break open what was a tied game heading into the fourth inning. His bases-loaded double in the fourth put the Blue Devils on top for the remainder of the game.
Duke got 6.2 solid innings from O'Grady, who scattered three runs to record his first win of the season. O'Grady struck out five batters before handing the ball to Manno, who struck out six over 2.1 innings without allowing an earned run. Manno entered the game with the tying run on first base and recorded the final seven outs to pick up his team-leading fourth save of the year.
O'Grady also drove in two runs with a pair of hits for his third straight multi-hit game. The junior pitcher/designated hitter also doubled for the third straight game, drove in a run for his fourth straight game and extended his hitting streak to four games.
Presbyterian tagged O'Grady for two runs in the first three innings, thanks to a solo home run from Matt Hill in the second and a two-out RBI single from Tony Micklon in the third. Duke's defense limited any further damage, however, as the Blue Devils converted all but two balls put in play into outs. Duke first baseman Jeremy Gould made an outstanding catch in the top of the second inning, pulling a foul back from over the wall along the first base line. Gould tracked the pop fly all the way to wall, leaned over and grabbed it just before toppling over onto the sidewalk outside of the field.
Down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the third, O'Grady helped himself out with a two-run single that tied the game at 2-2. With two outs and the bases loaded, O'Grady drove a ground ball to the left side that was nearly caught by Presbyterian third baseman Ryan Morris, but instead skipped off the edge of his glove as he was diving to his glove side. The ball scooted into left field, giving Ryan McCurdy and Mike Carroll plenty of time to come across the plate and tie the game.
Piwnica-Worms delivered another two out knock in the bottom of the fourth with a bases-loaded double to the right field gap that put Duke on top 5-2. The three-run double gave Piwnica-Worms his 40th RBI of the year and put the Blue Devils in the lead for the remainder of the game.
O'Grady cruised through the next two innings, holding the Blue Hose scoreless for three straight frames. He got into a jam in the top of the seventh and surrendered three hits, one of which was an RBI single from Mack Hite that cut Duke's lead to 5-3. Manno helped O'Grady get out of trouble, however, by entering the game with two outs and the tying run on first on and striking out cleanup hitter Tony Micklon to preserve the lead.
Duke took back that run in the bottom of the seventh on a homer from Piwnica-Worms, but gave the Blue Hose a pair of runs in the eighth that cut the deficit to 6-5. Manno struck out three more batters in that inning, but was let down by his defense when the Blue Devils made two errors one the same play to allow two unearned runs to cross. The Blue Hose put both men on with consecutive singles and then tried a double steal with two outs, drawing a throw to third base from freshman catcher Ryan Munger. Munger's throw sailed over McCurdy's head and into left field where Joe Pedevillano misplayed it for the second error. Both runners came across to score.
Freshman second baseman Marcus Stroman created a run almost entirely on his own in the top of the eighth to put Duke back on top by two at 7-5. He singled to lead off the inning, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brian Litwin, stole third and then scored on a wild pitch. Manno then took the mound for the final inning and struck out two batters in the ninth to lock up his fourth save of the year.
Game Two: O'Grady Sends in Five Runs, Burke Shuts Down Blue Hose Out of Bullpen
After getting the win on the mound in game one, O'Grady used his bat to lead Duke to a game-two win by driving in a career-high five RBI with a two-run double and three sacrifice flies. His offense backed a strong relief outing from freshman Devin Burke, who did not allow a run over the final five innings of the game.
Duke overcame a two-home run effort from Presbyterian shortstop Gabe Grammer, who drove in three runs. Both homers came off of starter Chase Bebout, who started and lasted 4.1 innings before handing the ball to Burke.
Duke and Presbyterian swapped leads through the first three frames before settling into a 4-4 tie. The Blue Devils jumped out 3-0 in the bottom of the first, thanks to a pair of two-out hits from O'Grady and Stroman, before the Blue Hose struck back with two runs in the second and third. Grammer blasted a solo homer and a two-run bomb in each of his at bats during that span while Presbyterian totaled five extra-base hits. O'Grady responded with a game-tying sacrifice fly in the third, however, as Duke tied the game at 4-4 heading into the fourth.
The teams traded another run in the fifth and ran the score to 5-5 with O'Grady once again driving in the tying run with his second sacrifice fly ball. The Blue Devils had to go to their bullpen in the top of that frame, however, and called on Burke to take over for Bebout. Burke would work out of a jam in the fifth before shutting out the Blue Hose over the final four innings of the game.
Duke finally went back on top in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to the third straight sacrifice fly from O'Grady. Following a leadoff walk drawn by Lemmerman and a bloop single from Gould, O'Grady lifted his fly ball to center field to give Lemmerman plenty of time to score from third base. The RBI flyout gave O'Grady his career-high fifth RBI of the game and an RBI in the fourth straight at bat.
From there, Burke retired six of the next seven batters to secure the win. The only hit he allowed was an infield single.
Duke continues its seven-game week on Wednesday, April 12, with a trip to Wofford in Spartanburg, S.C. The game time has been moved up to 2 p.m.