DURHAM, N.C. – Duke freshman Chris Marconcini drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a two-out, two-strike single in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead the Blue Devils past Richmond 6-5 on opening day at Jack Coombs Field.
With Duke (1-0) trailing 5-4 and runners on second and third with two outs, Marconcini fell behind 0-2 in the count, but then laced his second hit of the game into center field. Pinch runner Joe Pedevillano scored from third base to tie the game, and freshman third baseman Jordan Betts came in all the way from second to slide across the plate for the game-winning run.
In his first collegiate game, Marconcini drove in three RBI with a pair of singles, including another two-out RBI base knock in the sixth inning that cut Richmond’s lead to 4-2. The 6-5, 200-pound left-hander finished 2-for-4 and also scored once to account for four of Duke’s six runs.
Fellow freshman Betts, who was one of four freshmen to start the game for Duke, also came up big in his debut with two hits, a stolen base and the game-winning run. Duke used a combined seven freshmen in the game, including pitcher Drew Van Orden (1-0), who earned the win after throwing a scoreless ninth inning.
Duke starter Chase Bebout came away with a no decision despite striking out a career-high nine batters over 5.2 innings without allowing an earned run. Bebout, a 6-6, 200-pound sophomore, did not walk a single batter and allowed just five hits. The Spiders (0-1) scored three runs off of Bebout, though all were unearned and two scored after he left the game in the sixth inning.
Bebout, Van Orden and reliever Ben Grisz, who contributed 2.1 innings in middle relief, combined to strike out 11 batters while allowing only one walk.
Richmond also got a solid start from right-hander Jacob Mayers, who scattered two runs over six innings and left the game with a 4-1 lead. The Blue Devils touched up the Spider bullpen for four runs over the remaining three frames, however, with Marconcini’s game-winning RBI coming off reliever Alex Maffett (0-1).
Junior Will Piwnica-Worms, sophomore Jeff Kremer and freshman David Perkins also had RBI for Duke.
Duke and Richmond will resume the series on Saturday, Feb. 19, with a 2 p.m. showdown at Jack Coombs Field. Duke will send junior southpaw Eric Pfisterer to the mound opposite Richmond left-hander Bret Williams in game two of the three-game series.