DURHAM, N.C. – No. 13 Duke scored double-digit runs in both games of a doubleheader sweep over Gardner-Webb Sunday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field, downing the Runnin’ Bulldogs 13-4 to start the day before taking a 10-4 decision in the nightcap.
Duke (35-11) totaled 28 hits – 10 for extra bases -- between the two ballgames, batting .400 as a club with eight of the starting nine hitting .300 or better.
“I told our team coming out of Friday’s scrimmage that I really like where we are offensively,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “I liked how locked in we were. I saw us taking breaking ball. I saw us on time with the fastball. That’s what you saw today, too. A lot of really on time swings. I feel like absolutely we’re in the best place we’ve been all year offensively.”
Proctor’s blast began the scoring in the bottom of the first while Conine’s home run was part of a five-run Duke fourth. Every Blue Devil in the starting nine had a least one hit while Duke also accumulated 10 walks in the contest.
After Jimmy Herron beat out an infield single, the first of his four hits on the day, Proctor lifted the first pitch he saw into the right-field trees for his fourth homer of the season. Up 3-0, Conine followed a two-run Loperfido base knock with his 10th longball of the 2018 campaign, a towering 497-foot homer to right center.
All four Gardner-Webb runs crossed home in the fourth, thanks to three walks, a Mickey Dugan two-run double and an Eric Jones RBI base hit.
Duke’s bullpen closed out the game without further damage. Ryan Day (4-2) picked up the win, pitching 1.1 innings in relief before a 1:24 rain delay ended his outing. Sophomores Bill Chillari and Matt Mervis then allowed just two baserunners the final 3.2 innings.
Gardner-Webb’s Langdon Wilson (2-1) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on three hits over 3.0 innings.
Tied 2-2 heading to the final frames, Duke plated four runs in both the seventh and the eighth to capture a 10-4 game two victory. With the late-inning offensive outpouring, the Blue Devils have scored double-digit runs in four of their past five contests.
Jack Labosky accounted for both of Duke’s first two runs, knocking an RBI double in the third and an RBI single in the fifth.
Freshman Michael Rothenberg laced a one-out triple to the right-center gap with one-out in the seventh to start a four-run Blue Devil rally. Herron sent an RBI single up the middle, Proctor reached on an RBI fielder’s choice, Loperfido added an RBI base hit and Conine sliced an RBI double to turn a tie game into a 6-2 lead.
Gardner-Webb countered with a two-run eighth aided by Chandler Redmon’s two-run single but Duke’s four tallies in the bottom half put the game out of reach. In total, the Blue Devils scores eight runs on nine hits between the seventh and eighth innings.
Duke returns to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park Tuesday, May 8 to host Liberty in a 6 p.m., contest on ACC Network Extra.