DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke Blue Devils won both games of their season-opening double-header against Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday at Jack Coombs Field. Duke used an 18-hit attack to win game one, 13-10, before senior Tony Bajoczky and freshman Michael Seander combined on a three-hitter in game two as the Blue Devils won, 8-2.
Mount St. Mary’s jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning of game one on an RBI-single by first baseman Eric Smith. The Blue Devils answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the frame to take a 2-1 lead. Second baseman Ryan McCurdy led off with a single to second before moving into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by center fielder Jonathan Anderson. Right fielder Jimmy Gallagher then doubled down the left field line to score McCurdy. Gallagher would then steal third before scoring on an RBI-groundout by first baseman Nate Freiman.
The Mountaineers then exploded for six runs in the top of the second to take a 7-2 lead. The Blue Devils responded with a three-run second to make it a 7-5 ballgame. Designated hitter Jeremy Gould singled to short to start the inning. Two batters later, left fielder Alexander Hassan laced an RBI-triple to right center in his first collegiate at-bat, scoring Gould from first. With two outs in the inning, McCurdy singled through the left side to score Hassan to cut the lead to 7-4. After McCurdy stole second, Anderson capped the inning with an RBI-triple to left field, bringing the Blue Devils to within two runs.
A six-run fourth inning gave Duke an 11-7 advantage. After Hassan singled to right to start the inning, shortstop Gabriel Saade reached on a bunt single to give the Blue Devils runners on first and second. McCurdy then moved both runners up a base with a sacrifice bunt. Anderson followed with an RBI-single to center to score Hassan. Gallagher then drew a walk to load the bases and chase Mountaineers’ starter Dustin Pease out of the game. Freiman would then send an RBI-single to right to score Saade. With the bases still loaded, third baseman Brett Bartles laced a two-run double off the left field wall to score Anderson and Gallagher. Gould followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Freiman from third and catcher Matt Williams capped off the six-run inning with an RBI-single up the middle.
Mount St. Mary’s made it a one-run game at 11-10 with a three-run fifth but that was as close as they would get. Duke added a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to extend their lead to 13-10. McCurdy again led off the inning with a single before advancing to second on an error. Gallagher then drove McCurdy and Anderson home with a two-run double to left center to cap the scoring.
Freshman Michael Ness (1-0) worked four innings of relief to pick up the win in game one in his collegiate debut. Ness held the Mountaineers to three runs on four hits while striking out three batters. Anderson picked up his second career save with two hitless innings in the eighth and ninth.
Gallagher paced the Blue Devils in game one, going 3-for-4 with a triple, two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored. McCurdy went 4-for-5 with an RBI, three runs scored and two stolen bases and Anderson was 2-for-5 with a triple, two RBI and two runs scored. Bartles and Freiman both drove in a pair of runs while Hassan, Saade and Williams finished with two hits apiece.
The Blue Devils scored first in game two with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. After Saade singled through the left side to start the third inning, the freshman shortstop stole second and third. McCurdy then brought Saade home with a sacrifice fly to right field. Anderson was then hit by a pitch and two batters later, Freiman laced an RBI-single to right, scoring Anderson.
Duke added a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-0 lead. After Gould was hit by a pitch, designated hitter Jonathan Nicolla lined an RBI-double over Ivor Hodgson’s head in center to score Gould. Nicolla would advance to third on a wild pitch before scoring on an RBI-single up the middle from Saade.
Mount St. Mary’s scored two unearned runs in the top of the fifth to cut the score to 4-2. The Blue Devils then used a three-run fifth to extend their lead to 7-2. After Anderson was hit by a pitch and stole second, Gallagher doubled to right to bring Anderson across the plate. Gallagher then stole third before scoring on an RBI-single by Bartles. Bartles scored the third run of the inning after a Mountaineer throwing error. Nicolla added his second RBI of the game in the bottom of the seventh to cap the scoring at 8-2.
Bajoczky (1-0) held Mount St. Mary’s to one hit and struck out five batters in six innings of work to earn the win. Seander picked up his first career save in his collegiate debut, limiting the Mountaineers to two hits in three scoreless innings of relief.
Nicolla led the Blue Devils in game two, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Gallagher, Freiman and Saade all had two hits and an RBI while Bartles and McCurdy added an RBI apiece and Anderson finished with two hits and two runs scored.
On the day, Gallagher was 5-for-9 with three doubles, one triple, four RBI and three runs scored. Anderson collected four hits, two RBI and four runs scored in seven at-bats, while McCurdy finished with four hits and two RBI and Saade had four hits and one RBI. Freiman had three hits and three RBI, Bartles had two hits and three RBI and Nicolla had a pair of hits and RBI. Williams and Hassan added two hits and one RBI apiece for the Blue Devils.
Duke will host Mount St. Mary’s for game three of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Jack Coombs Field.