DURHAM, N.C. – Three times the Blue Devils trailed by two or more runs and three times the Duke baseball rallied to tie the game, ultimately defeating Maryland 11-9 Saturday afternoon at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Down 9-8 in the bottom of the eighth, Duke tallied five-straight base hits with two outs to turn a one-run deficit into a two-run advantage.
Duke fell behind 2-0 in the first and faced deficits of 7-2 and 9-7 before mounting the eighth-inning comeback. After starter Drew Van Orden was touched for five runs in the first two innings, freshman Michael Matuella, sophomore Sarkis Ohanian and sophomore Andrew Istler (3-3) came on in relief and allowed just two earned runs over seven innings. Istler recorded the final four outs of the ball game to close out the victory and pick up his third win of the season.
Redshirt sophomore Chris Marconcini went 3-for-5 with an RBI, while freshman Kenny Koplove also went 3-for-5, adding two RBI and a run scored. One of three Blue Devils with two hits in the contest, sophomore Andy Perez belted a home run and a triple and added four RBI against the Terrapins.
Eight innings elapsed in the series opener before Maryland (24-21, 7-16 ACC) scored the first run of the set, but it was a different story Saturday as the two teams combined for four runs in the opening frame. Right fielder Jordan Hagel singled and scored on a LaMonte Wade triple before Kevin Martir drove in Maryland’s second run with a ground ball to second.
Duke (25-21, 9-14 ACC) answered immediately with Perez sending the first pitch he saw over the Blue Monster in left field for his third home run of the season. Junior Jordan Betts and Marconcini roped back-to-back doubles to tie the score at two before Maryland worked out of the inning.
Maryland kept at it in the second and third innings, sending five runs around to take a 7-2 lead. After a leadoff walk and base hit in the second, Jose Cuas, Charlie White and Hagel drove in a run each. The Terps tacked on two more in the third on a two-run double off the bat of shortstop Blake Schmit.
Sophomore Grant McCabe, who had a pair of hits alongside two runs scored and an RBI, walked to begin the bottom of the fourth and Mark Lumpa followed with a double. Koplove knocked in the first of his two RBI with a single before senior Ryan Munger was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Perez proceeded to send a bases-clearing triple to center field, pulling Duke within one. A Jeff Kremer grounder to short allowed Perez to score from third, knotting the score at seven-all.
Two unearned runs in the sixth once again gave Maryland the advantage. After a Duke error put runners at the corners, Hagel drove in one run on a fielder’s choice and Wade knocked in the second with a single.
A Matt Berezo pinch-hit RBI single cut the Terps' lead to 9-8 in the seventh, but Maryland right-hander Kevin Mooney (3-2) appeared to be in control in the eighth, striking out the first two Blue Devil batters. Duke’s fortunes changed with a Marconcini base knock, the first of five consecutive singles for the Blue Devils. McCabe, Lumpa and Koplove each had a RBI single to give Duke an 11-9 margin heading into the final frame.
Istler retired the first two batters he faced in the ninth before a walk and a double put the tying run in scoring position. The Duke right-hander worked out of it, getting Scmit to ground out to third to close out the contest.
Mooney suffered the loss for the Terps, allowing three runs on five hits in 1.1 innings of work. Four Maryland players had multiple hits in the game, led by Andrew Amaro’s 3-for-5 performance.
The series finale is set for a 1 p.m., start Sunday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.