CLEMSON, S.C. – The Duke baseball team took an early two-run lead in the first but the Blue Devils were unable to hold off the Tigers as Clemson scored at least one run in each of the first five innings and defeated Duke 8-4 in game one of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Duke’s one-through-five hitters were a combined 10-for-21 as both teams totaled 12 hits in the contest. The Tigers utilized timely hitting and capitalized on three Blue Devil errors to grab the win.
Duke wasted no time putting runs on the board in the second game of the series as the Blue Devils sent two around in the top of the first. Senior Jeff Kremer smoked a one-out double to left center and sophomore Grant McCabe followed with a walk to put two aboard. Junior Jordan Betts singled up the middle with two away for his 15th RBI of the season, then junior Matt Berezo sent a chopper over second base to put the Blue Devils up 2-0.
Undeterred, Clemson capitalized on a Duke error to make it a 2-1 game in the bottom half of the opening frame. Tiger catcher Garrett Boulware looped a two-out single into right field for his team-leading 22nd RBI of the season, scoring right fielder Steven Duggar who had reached base on a Blue Devil throwing error with two away.
Duke defensive miscues came back to haunt the Blue Devils again in the second inning as Tiger center fielder Tyler Brittle walked to begin the frame and advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt. A wild pitch allowed Brittle to scamper home, tying the game 2-2.
The Tigers took their first lead of the game with a run in the third. Second baseman Steve Wilkerson doubled to start things off and reached third as Drew Van Orden’s pickoff throw got past Andy Perez at second. Boulware knocked in Steve Wilkerson with a base hit for his second RBI of the afternoon.
Tyler Krieger’s RBI single in the fourth made it a 4-2 game before Wilkerson doubled with two outs, scoring Krieger for the 5-2 Clemson lead.
The Blue Devils were able to chase Clemson starter Clate Schmidt in the fifth as back-to-back two-out doubles from Chris Marconcini and Betts brought two runs home to pull Duke within one, 5-4. Schmidt threw 4.2 innings in the no decision, allowing four runs on nine hits with three strikeouts.
Clemson pushed its lead back to two runs with a Jay Baum RBI base hit, plating Shane Kennedy in the bottom of the fifth. Hanging on to the two-run lead, the Tigers tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth to extend their lead to 8-4.
Van Orden (1-3) took the loss for Duke, allowing five runs, three earned, over three innings of work. The Duke right-hander struck out three batters and walked three.
Kremer led the Duke offense with three hits while Betts and Marconcini were both 2-for-4. Betts added a double and two RBI on the day. Marconcini had two doubles with an RBI and a run scored.