DURHAM, N.C. – Nate Freiman mashed two home runs and drove in four RBI in game one and Jonathan Foreman threw five strong innings in game two to lead Duke to a double header sweep over Maryland-Eastern Shore, winning 12-4 and 5-2 Wednesday night at Jack Coombs Field.
Freiman went 5-for-7 on the day with a 3-for-5, two-home run performance in the opener and a 2-for-4 showing in game two that included a double. The outing gave the 6-8 senior first baseman his third multi-home run game of the season and jumped him two spots into a tie for fifth place on Duke’s all-time home run list. Freiman also made his first start at catcher since his sophomore season and caught a runner stealing while allowing just one wild pitch all game.
Foreman (1-1) gave up just one run in his five complete innings as the game two starter to notch his first win of the year. A junior right-hander, Foreman scattered three hits and struck out five batters before turning the ball over to the relief trio of John Bunder, Michael Ness and David Putman, who combined for just one run over the final four innings. Putman collected his first career save, while Ness and Bunder both earned holds.
The relief duo of Kyle Butler (1-0) and Will Currier combined for five shutout innings in game one, holding a slim Duke lead until the Blue Devils (12-6, 3-3 ACC) broke the game open with a five-run eighth inning that included a three-run homer by Freiman. Butler pitched three of those frames and gave up just one hit to earn his first win of the season, while Currier finished the final two to notch his first career save.
Freshman designated hitter Trevor Cesar also slammed his first career home run in game one and finished 3-for-4 in the game with two RBI and two runs scored. Second baseman Gabriel Saade drove in three runs in the opener, while two-way outfielder Alex Hassan finished 4-for-8 on the day with three runs and an RBI.
Duke outhit the Hawks (2-17) 13-10 in game one and 12-7 in game two and benefited from a pitching staff that gave up just six earned runs over 18 innings of work for a 3.00 ERA on the day. Freshman Eric Pfisterer turned in three shutout innings in his first career start and also picked off two base runners. The Blue Devils also turned four double plays in the two-game set and did not commit an error.
Game One: Freiman’s Two Home Runs Lift Duke To 12-4 Win
Freiman mashed a pair of homers, including a go-ahead solo shot in the fifth and a three-run blast in the eighth, for his third multi-home run game of the season and the eighth two-home run performance of his career. Hitting from the third spot in the lineup, Freiman finished with three hits and three runs.
Freshman Trevor Cesar went 3-for-4 with multiple career firsts, mashing his first career home run, his first hit and his first runs driven in. Cesar sent in two runs on the day to join second baseman Gabriel Saade, who also drove in multiple RBI with three.
Butler and Currier closed out the game with a combined five scoreless innings of work, scattering three hits between them. Butler (1-0) earned the win, while Currier picked up the save. The duo wrapped up a shutdown start by Eric Pfisterer, who went three complete innings and struck out three batters in his first career start. Pfisterer also picked off two runners, one on second and one on first.
The top three batters in Duke’s lineup – leadoff man Alex Hassan, two-hitter Matt Williams and Freiman in the three-spot – combined to score seven of Duke’s 12 runs. Duke knocked 13 hits, turned a double play for the fourth straight game and did not commit a single error.
Pfisterer made quick work of the top of Maryland-Eastern Shore’s lineup, forcing two flyouts on the way to facing the minimum three batters in the inning. He gave up a single to two-hitter Josh Dunham, but erased the base hit by picking him off at first base to end the inning.
The Blue Devils, meanwhile, wasted no time getting on the scoreboard and jumped out to a 4-0 lead. The first three Duke batters reached base to start the inning, and Jeremy Gould and Saade drove in all three runners with a sacrifice fly from Gould and a two-run single down the left field line by Saade. Cesar also sent in a run with his first career single, a ground ball that got through the right side and scored Saade from third base.
Pfisterer came out and fanned two more batters in the second as part of another scoreless inning. The Hawks knocked two hits off of Duke’s freshman left-hander, but Pfisterer struck out Tyler Love with one out and then picked off Ben Vasko at second base to get out of the jam unharmed.
Pfisterer was even more successful in the third frame, as he sat down the side in order on 10 pitches. He chalked up another strikeout to start the inning, giving him 12 on the season in just 9.2 innings pitched. The third inning would be the last for Pfisterer, however, as he reached his predetermined three-inning limit for the game.
With Pfisterer gone from the game, Maryland-Eastern Shore’s bats were finally able to go to work in the fourth and knocked out three hits on the way to three runs. All three runs were charged to freshman right-hander Ben Grisz, who walked Dunham to start the inning and then gave up three straight singles to 3-4-5 hitters Pat Hercinger, Russel Deutschmann and Vasko. Two of those three knocks sent in runs, and Kyle Orsini sent in the Hawks’ final run with a bases-loaded walk.
Grisz stayed on to start the fifth inning, but had more problems with his control and hit Dunham to start the inning. The hit batsman came back to hurt the Blue Devils, but not until Butler followed Grisz and inherited runners at first and third with two outs. Butler used his first pitch to induce a double play, but it did little to keep Dunham from scoring from third. That would be the end of UMES rally, however, as Butler induced a foulout from Vasko to end the inning.
The score was not tied for long, however, as Freiman put Duke back on top with a solo home run to lead off the fifth inning. The homer was his fifth of the season and traveled well over the left field fence. It was also the 28th career long ball for Freiman, which moved him into a tie for sixth place on Duke’s all-time list.
Duke got another solo shot in the bottom of the sixth, this time from Cesar, to jump ahead 6-4. Cesar mashed the second pitch he saw over the left-center field fence for his first career home run and his second hit and RBI of the game.
Butler, meanwhile, came on for his third inning of work after scattering double and a hit batter in the sixth. Butler retired the side in order in the seventh while picking up his first strikeout of the game. He would exit before the eighth after three shutout innings, putting himself in line for the win.
Duke added one more run in the seventh on a two-out RBI single by Saade that scored Williams all the way from second. It was the second RBI base knock of the game for Saade and gave Currier a three-run lead to protect in the eighth with Duke ahead 7-4. Currier retired the side in order in his first inning and got some help from his center fielder Will Piwnica-Worms, who chased a fly ball in deep left-center field and made a diving catch just in front of the warning track to end the inning.
Duke finally broke the game open with a five-run eighth inning that featured another home run from Freiman that put Duke ahead 12-4. Duke opened the inning with singles from Lemmerman, Cesar and Ryan McCurdy to load the bases for reliever Matt Witte, who came in to face Hassan and walked him to send in a run. Williams then followed with a sacrifice fly to left field that drove in Cesar from third base just before Freiman launched a three-run bomb that drilled the light pole in left-center field.
Currier then came out and got the final three outs of the game against the top of Maryland-Eastern Shore’s lineup to close out the game. The final inning gave Currier his first career save after he came in to protect Duke’s three-run lead in the top of the eighth.
Game Two: Foreman And Three Relievers Stifle Hawk Bats In 5-2 Win
Jonathan Foreman gave up just one run in five innings of work and held Maryland-Eastern scoreless over his final five innings to pick up the win in a 5-2 ballgame. Relievers John Bunder, Michael Ness and David Putman closed out the game with Ness contributing two hitless innings and Putman earning his first career save.
Duke had RBI from five players, including Jeremy Gould, Eric Pfisterer, Jake Lemmerman, Will Piwnica-worms and Ryan McCurdy. Leadoff man Alex Hassan went 3-for-5 with a run, Lemmerman went 2-for-3, and Dennis O'Grady finished 2-for-4 with a run. Nate Freiman started behind the plate and logged two hits while throwing out a runner stealing second base.
Maryland-Shore scored the first run of the game, thanks the efforts of leadoff man Phil Vaughn, who singled and stole second before Duke could record an out. He would move over to third after consecutive singles from Josh Dunham and Pat Hercinger loaded the bases and scored on the next at bat when Elliott Alston hit into a double play. Lemmerman was able to get two outs on his own on the play, fielding Alston’s ground ball near the bag where he tagged Dunham in the base path and then stepped on second to force out Hercinger. The unassisted double play left just one man on base for the Hawks, who had their rally ended after Foreman struck out Ben Vasko swinging for the third out.
Duke responded with two runs in the first inning with a rally that started with a leadoff single by Hassan and a walk taken by Trevor Cesar. Freiman moved the runners into scoring position with a base hit back up the middle, and Gould followed with his second sacrifice fly ball of the day to send in Hassan. The Blue Devils managed to squeak one more run out of the inning when Pfisterer rolled a fielder’s choice grounder that he beat out at first base to foil a potential double play and keep the inning alive long enough for Cesar to score.
Foreman came out and shook off a leadoff walk to enjoy a much more successful second inning in which he struck out the last two batters he faced. Freiman, making his first start at catcher since May 15, 2007, negated the walk by gunning down Franklin Armstrong when he tried to steal second.
The Blue Devils tacked on two more runs in the second and third on an RBI groundout by McCurdy and a sacrifice fly ball by Lemmerman that put them ahead 4-1. O’Grady started the rally in the second inning with an infield single to third base and got a free pass to second when UMES third baseman Alston made a diving stop on the line, but threw the ball wide of his first baseman. Will Piwnica-Worms then gave up his at bat to move McCurdy over to third with a sacrifice bunt, where he would score two pitches later on McCurdy’s groundout to shortstop.
The third inning featured consecutive hits from Gould and Pfisterer and that set the table for Lemmerman’s sacrifice fly to right field. Gould opened the rally with a double – his 10th of the season – and moved over to third on Pfisterer’s grounder through the right side. That single marked the fourth time in his last seven at bats that Pfisterer reached on a single.
Foreman ran into some control problems in the fifth, but got bailed out by his defense to complete his fourth consecutive scoreless inning. He walked leadoff man Remo Orsini to start the inning and fell behind 3-0 against Vaughn, but forced Vaughn to roll a ground ball back up the middle that Lemmerman fielded and converted into a double play. He then induced a weak roller to the right side from Dunham, which was fielded by O’Grady and converted into the third out of the inning. Through five complete innings, Foreman had allowed just three hits and struck out five batters.
Duke swapped out Foreman for Bunder to start the sixth, and Alston welcomed him to the game with a one-out solo home run to left field that ran the score to 4-2. That would be the last run Bunder allowed though, as he left two runners on base by inducing a groundout to O’Grady at second base
Duke got the run back in their next series, however, thanks to an RBI single by Piwnica-Worms that was the third straight base hit for Duke in the inning. Lemmerman and O’Grady started the rally with consecutive bunt singles to the left side of the infield before Piwnica-Worms roped a line drive back up the middle to send Lemmerman across the plate for his second run of the day.
Ness took over for Duke in the seventh and retired the side in order on nine pitches in his first frame and sat down three more on nine pitches in the eighth. Of his 18 pitches in his two innings of work, Ness fired 15 in for strikes while holding Duke’s 5-2 lead intact into the ninth inning.
Duke had a shot to go ahead by four runs in the bottom of the ninth, but had that opportunity foiled by Hawks right fielder Franklin Armstrong, who field a base hit in the outfield with two men on base and fired a rope to the plate just in time to throw out a sliding Lemmerman. Duke raked two hits in the inning, including the leadoff single by Lemmerman, but could not get the run across the plate. Lemmerman tried to score from second base on a two-out single by Hassan, but had no choice but to slide into the tag at the plate.
With a 5-2 lead to protect in the ninth, Duke turned to Putman to record the final three outs in his first career save opportunity. The right-handed freshman opened by inducing a groundout, but followed by surrendering two straight singles to give UMES runners at first and second. With the tying run at the plate, Putman buckled down and snatched a ground ball that was hit right back at him and turned and fired to second base to start a game-ending double play.
Duke will now have an open day on Thursday to prepare for the upcoming ACC series at North Carolina, which will open on Friday, March 20, at 7 p.m. Game two of the rivalry is slated for a 2 p.m. on Saturday