DURHAM, N.C. - After falling behind 2-1, Towson put up four runs in the sixth and never relinquished the lead as the Tigers topped Duke 9-3 Friday evening at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Duke grabbed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth as second baseman Andy Perez got the inning started with a single up the middle. Right fielder Jeff Kremer followed with a walk, his seventh in eight games, and catcher Mike Rosenfeld beat out a bunt down the left field line to load the bases. Third baseman Jordan Betts then singled to right field to put Duke up 2-1.
Towson answered with a four-run sixth to take a 5-2 lead. A pair of walks began the Tiger rally and the first Towson run crossed the plate after a walk with the bases loaded. A double play ball plated the second run before a double from Andrew Parker and a single from Dominic Frantantuono scored the final two runs of the inning.
The Tigers added a pair of runs in both the seventh and the ninth to extend their lead to 9-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
The Blue Devils got one back in the final frame as an error and a pair of singles, one each from Grant McCabe and Rosenfeld, loaded the bases with no one out. Left fielder Andrew Istler drew a walk to score Marconcini from third, but a strikeout and double play ball would end the game.
Towson right-hander Mike Volpe (2-0) earned the win, limiting Duke to two runs on six hits. Volpe walked three and struck out five in six innings of work. Offensively, the Tigers totaled 14 hits in the contest and capitalized on 10 walks issued by the Duke pitching staff.
Duke starter Trent Swart (1-0) issued a season-high five walks, but allowed just one run on four hits. Swart struck out four and left the game after five complete innings with a 2-1 lead. Sophomore Remy Janco (0-1) would take the loss after giving up three runs on one hit and three walks in the sixth.
"I thought that it was a good job by Trent [Swart] of battling" said head coach Chris Pollard. "He didn't really get into his groove. His was laboring to consistently put the ball in the strike zone, but he did a good job of battling. He gave us 5.0 innings and he came out with a lead, 2-1. That's a quality start."
Duke's offense was led by Rosenfeld, who went 3-for-4 with a double for his second three-hit game of the season. Perez was 2-for-5 with a run scored in the leadoff spot, while Matt Berezo went 2-for-4 with a double.
"I thought that some guys individually had some good at bats," Pollard added. "Rosenfeld had a very good day at the plate. Matt Berezo had a good day at the plate and Jordan Betts with the two-RBI single. I thought we did a good job of getting the leadoff guy on base, but our situational hitting was not very good. Obviously the biggest issue from our end is the fact that we walked 10 guys. You're not going to win very often when you walk 10 guys and we walked seven through nine in their line up five times. I don't say that as any disrespect to Towson because they played well. They're a good club, but when you walk the bottom of the lineup, it's going to come back to haunt you."
Game two of the series is set for a 5:30 p.m., start Saturday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.