DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke baseball team blanked its second straight opponent, shutting out UNC Greensboro 2-0 Tuesday evening at Jack Coombs Field for its season-high sixth consecutive victory.
Duke (25-17, 12-9 ACC) utilized five pitchers in the shutout with junior Andrew Istler (6-5) earning the win. Istler tossed five scoreless innings to start the game, striking out four without issuing a walk. The Wellington, Fla., native did not yield a hit after the second inning and retired the final 10 batters he faced.
“Thought [Istler] threw the baseball great,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “Thought he set a tone against a very good offensive club. UNC Greensboro comes into today hitting .306. They’ve got four guys over .300 and one guy over .400. He did a really good job of minimizing in the first inning. Could’ve been a run or two pushed across that inning. I thought both teams pitched great. I tip my hat to UNC Greensboro; I thought they pitched very well also.”
Redshirt junior Dillon Haviland, redshirt sophomore Conner Stevens, sophomore Nick Hendrix and senior Robert Huber pitched an inning each in relief, allowing just one hit and one walk the rest of the way. Huber faced four batters in a scoreless ninth to record his eighth save of the season.
The Blue Devil offense supplied the first run of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Senior Matt Berezo drew a leadoff walk, stole second and advanced to third on a Mike Rosenfeld groundball. With two outs, UNCG third baseman Sean Guite misplayed a Kenny Koplove grounder, allowing Berezo to cross home plate.
The bats remained silent until the bottom of the eighth when Duke tacked on an insurance run against Spartan reliever Tyler Frazier. Senior Mark Lumpa doubled for the fifth time this season and junior Andy Perez drove him in with a base knock through the right side.
“If you look at Frazier’s numbers, he’s been pitching lights out,” Pollard said. “He’s been really hard to hit. He’s got a couple of different breaking balls. He’s got a hard curve ball. He’s got a slider. He’s got a changeup that’s almost like a split finger pitch. He threw Andy a really, really good curveball to get the strike, came back with another good one right behind it and Andy drove it through the 3-4 hole.”
The two runs proved all the offense the Duke pitching staff would need as the Spartans had just two runners in scoring position all night.
Duke hits the road this weekend for a conference series at Wake Forest Friday-Sunday, April 26-27.