TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Duke baseball team nearly erased a six-run deficit in the ninth, but No. 4 Florida State held on for the 9-8 victory to clinch the series Friday evening at Dick Howser Stadium.
Trailing 9-3 and down to its final three outs, Duke (31-23, 15-14 ACC) put a scare into the Seminoles with five runs on three hits and two errors in the frame. With two outs, redshirt junior Chris Marconcini’s fly ball to deep right center came up just shy of a two-run homer as FSU centerfielder Ben DeLuzio corralled the ball on the warning track for the final out of the game.
DJ Stewart and Jose Brizuela combined for seven hits to help the Florida State (41-13, 21-8 ACC) cause. Stewart tied his career high with four hits, while Brizuela matched his career standard with three. The duo also combined for three runs and five RBI to power the Seminoles.
Duke scored lone runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings, but the Seminoles plated multiple runs in the bottom half of each frame to counter the Blue Devils and build the six-run advantage.
Redshirt senior Ryan Deitrich registered a solo home run, his sixth of the season, and two doubles to pace the Duke offense. Redshirt junior Chris Marconcini chipped in with two doubles of his own, while junior Andy Perez was 2-for-4 with a stolen base.
Florida State loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks in the second before Drew Van Orden (5-5) fielded a Josh Delph grounder to escape unscathed. Deitrich then put Duke ahead with one swing of the bat, sending a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left. The long ball was just the third allowed by FSU starter Mike Compton (7-1) this season. Compton tossed 5.1 innings, scattering seven hits while allowing two runs.
Duke’s first advantage of the weekend did not survive the bottom half after FSU plated a pair. Stewart’s RBI double scored Casey Smit, who reached on a leadoff walk, to tie the game at one-all. Following a John Nogowski base hit, Brizuela lifted a sacrifice fly to center to give the Seminoles the lead.
Senior Matt Berezo delivered the clutch, two-out hit the following frame. Berezo’s single through the right side scored Marconcini after the right fielder drilled his second double of the game off the right field wall. Duke nearly tied the game earlier, but Florida State gunned down Perez at the plate trying to score from second on Marconcini’s double.
Florida State broke the 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fourth, scoring two runs on three hits. Delph and Stewart both singled, and Nogowski and Brizuela drove them in with a sacrifice fly and RBI base hit, respectively.
Senior David Perkins recorded his eighth RBI of the season to narrow the deficit to 5-3 in the seventh. Perkins’ RBI groundout scored junior Grant McCabe after the centerfielder singled and reached third on a Deitrich double.
The Seminoles responded with authority in the bottom of the seventh, tacking on four runs for a sizeable 9-3 advantage. Back-to-back walks started the frame and Delph knocked a two-run double down the right field line. Stewart added his fourth RBI with a base hit and DeLuzio matched his teammate with an RBI base knock of his own.
Duke made it a game late with a five-run ninth. Following a Berezo single and Rosenfeld walk, Deitrich roped an RBI double to left. Freshman Cris Perez picked up his sixth RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to plate Rosenfeld and Lumpa reached on an error to keep the inning alive. Betts laced his 19th double of the season to left, scoring both Lumpa and Perez to make it 9-8 prior to Marconcini’s deep fly ball.
Van Orden ultimately suffered the loss, yielding four runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings. Freshman J.R. Holloway pitched 1.1 solid innings in relief, retiring all four batters he faced with two strikeouts.
Duke and Florida State wrap up the series Saturday at 1 p.m. at Dick Howser Stadium.