DURHAM, N.C. – Junior right-hander Marcus Stroman held No. 25 Virginia to three runs over seven innings and senior David Putman closed out the game with a scoreless eighth and ninth as Duke defeated the Cavaliers 6-3 on Friday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Stroman (4-3) had nine strikeouts on the night, running his NCAA-leading strikeout total to 102. Stroman now has 102 strikeouts in 73 innings, good for a 12.58 strikeouts per nine innings rate. In his seven ACC starts, Stroman has 72 strikeouts compared to just 13 walks.
Stroman’s 256 career strikeouts put him at seventh on Duke’s all-time strikeouts list.
Stroman had a strikeout in every inning except the fourth and had a pair of strikeouts in the second, fifth and seventh innings. He ended his night with a strikeout to first baseman Jared King, the fourth time he struck out King in the game.
Putman earned his fifth save of the season and seventh of his career. His seven career saves are now tied for the fifth-most in school history, while his five saves in 2012 rank among the top 10 in a single season.
After entering the game in the eighth, Putman gave up a single and issued a walk to the first two batters he faced. Putman then struck out the next two batters before a walk to shortstop Chris Taylor loaded the bases. Putman then got designated hitter Branden Cogswell to ground out to second to get out of the bases-loaded jam.
In the ninth, Putman retired the Cavaliers in order, striking out third baseman Stephen Bruno to start the inning and King to end the game. Putman’s four strikeouts matched his career high and were the most he has had this season since his lone start of the year against N.C. Central on Feb. 22.
Virginia (24-14-1, 9-10 ACC) got on the board first, scoring on a wild pitch in the second inning.
Duke (15-24, 7-12 ACC) put up four runs in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. Catcher Mike Rosenfeld drew a one-out walk and stole second to get the inning going. Second baseman Mark Lumpa followed with a walk of his own. Two batters later, right fielder Grant McCabe sent an RBI-single back up the middle, scoring Rosenfeld and moving Lumpa to third. Lumpa and McCabe then pulled off a double steal of home and second. Shortstop Angelo La Bruna followed with an RBI-single to left center. La Bruna would later score the final run of the frame on a Virginia error.
The Cavaliers added a run on a Duke error in the fifth to cut the Blue Devil lead to 4-2.
Center fielder Will Piwnica-Worms doubled to the wall in left center to start the bottom half of the fifth. Third baseman Jordan Betts would then move Piwnica-Worms over to third with a groundout. Rosenfeld followed with an RBI-single to right to push the Duke lead to 5-2.
In the top of the sixth, Taylor sent a sacrifice fly to center, driving in catcher Nate Irving to make it a 5-3 ballgame.
Betts sent a one-out double down the left field line in the bottom of the seventh, marking the fifth straight game that he has doubled. Rosenfeld then blasted an RBI-double over the head of Brandon Downes in center, driving in his second run of the game and giving the Blue Devils a 6-3 lead.
Rosenfeld led the Blue Devils at the plate, finishing 2-for-3 with two RBI, a run and a double. McCabe and La Bruna both went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, while Piwnica-Worms and Betts both doubled and scored a run. Designated hitter Jeff Kremer had two hits on the night, left fielder Andrew Istler added a hit and Lumpa scored a run for Duke.
Virginia starter Branden Kline (5-3) took the loss after allowing all six runs – five of them earned – on nine hits in seven innings of work.
The Blue Devils and Cavaliers will wrap up their series with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon.