WACO, Texas - Jake Lemmerman drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the seventh inning and then delivered a solo home run in the ninth to lead Duke to a 9-5 win over No. 22 Georgia Saturday evening at Baylor Ballpark in game four of the QTI Apparel's Opening Weekend Classic.
Lemmerman was one of three Blue Devils with two RBI, joining classmate Dennis O'Grady and freshman Eric Brady. In his third career game and first hitting in the leadoff spot, Brady delivered three hits, a sacrifice fly and two runs. O'Grady tagged two hits, including a two-run single in the first inning.
Duke seniors Jonathan Foreman and Will Currier teamed up to hold the Bulldogs (1-1) to three earned runs in the first six innings before handing the ball to freshman two-way player Marcus Stroman. Stroman, in his pitching debut, notched the save with a three-inning outing that featured no earned runs and three strikeouts. Foreman scattered three earned runs over five complete innings, while Currier added one scoreless inning out of the bullpen.
The win over Georgia came in the second game of the day for Duke (1-2) following a 2-3 loss to tournament host Baylor (2-1). Duke led Baylor 2-1 until the Bears mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Game One: Baylor Rallies To Overtake Duke Late In 2-3 Loss
WACO, Texas - Gregg Glime doubled twice and scored the tying run to lead Baylor to a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Duke Saturday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark on day two of the QTI Apparel's Opening Weekend Classic.
Glime knocked doubles in consecutive at bats, including a one-out two-base knock in the seventh inning that started the go-ahead rally for Baylor (2-1). After Glime's double, Brooks Pinckard and Logan Vick tagged consecutive two-out singles to erase a 2-1 Duke lead and put the Bears ahead for the remainder of the game.
Pinckard also picked up the save after teaming up with fellow reliever Trent Blank to hold Duke (0-2) to one hit over the final four innings. Blank entered in the sixth and scattered one hit over 2.2 innings before Pinckard came in front center field with two outs in the eighth and recorded the final four outs.
Baylor's two-run seventh erased a solid start from Duke senior right-hander Michael Ness, who retired the first 14 batters he saw and was perfect through 4.2 innings. Ness, who made his first start since March 16, 2007, gave up just one run and three hits over 5.0 complete innings. He did not give up a run until Baylor mounted a short two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth.
Duke sophomore reliever Ben Grisz (0-1) took the loss after giving up the consecutive two-out singles to Pinckard and Vick in the bottom of the seventh. Grisz tossed a career-high 3.0 innings out of the bullpen, giving up four hits and two earned runs. He struck out two without walking a batter.
Duke freshman Mike Carroll turned in his first multi-hit performance with a 2-for-4 effort that included an RBI single in the first inning. Carroll went a combined 3-for-5 in his first two career games. Junior shortstop Jake Lemmerman also sent in a run in a two-run first inning that started with a leadoff triple from sophomore Will Piwnica-Worms.
Senior first baseman Jeremy Gould, in his 110th consecutive start, extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base safely to 27 with a fourth-inning single.
Duke took a first-inning lead for the second straight game, thanks to a leadoff triple from Piwnica-Worms. Piwnica-Worms crushed a 3-1 fastball to the right field gap and legged out his fifth career triple. He scored two at bats later on a groundout to the left side by Lemmerman.
Carroll sent in another run with an RBI single in the second inning that put Duke on top 2-0. With Dennis O'Grady on second base, Carroll pulled a grounder that squeaked through the right side and into shallow right field. O'Grady got the green light from head coach Sean McNally and crossed the plate before the Bears could get the ball in to the infield.
Ness fed off the early momentum and cruised through his first four innings, sitting down all 12 batters he faced. The senior right-hander fired just 40 pitches during that span, 26 of which were strikes.
The Bears finally put something together against Ness in the bottom of the fifth, however, when Miller and Glime connected on consecutive two-out doubles that trimmed Duke's lead to 2-1. Ness had retired the first 14 batters he faced until those consecutive base knocks. Baylor's offense kept the momentum going with an infield single and a walk that loaded the bases, but Ness dialed in and got a clutch strikeout to strand all three runners. Despite allowing three hits and a walk, the senior right-hander allowed just one run to cross the plate.
Grisz took over for Ness in the top of the sixth with a 2-1 lead to protect. He successfully worked through the first inning, but surrendered consecutive two-out singles to Pinckard and Vick that put the Bears on top 3-2 for their first lead of the game. The seventh-inning rally started with a one-out double from Glime that banged off the top of the center field wall. Pinckard then sent him home with a ground ball that squeaked through the right side before Vick capped the rally with a line drive back up the middle.
Baylor countered by sending Blank to the mound in the sixth, and he responded by retiring eight straight batters to take the game into the eighth inning. He ran into control issues with two outs in the eighth, however, and hit Brady before walking Lemmerman. The walk prompted the Bears to move Pinckard from center field the mound where he got out of the jam when Gould lined his first pitch to right fielder Tyler Collins.
Grisz rebounded to retire the side in order in the eighth, leaving Duke to make up the 3-2 deficit in the top of the ninth. Pinckard wrapped up the win for the Bears, however, by inducing three straight groundouts to end the game.
Game Two: Timely Hits Lead Duke to 9-5 Win Over No. 22 Georgia
WACO, Texas - Duke rallied from a 4-3 deficit to score six runs over the final three innings, including a solo home run from Jake Lemmerman, to upset the 22nd-ranked Georgia Bulldogs.
Duke was 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position against Georgia and had three RBI hits in two-strike at bats, including a two-strike home run from Lemmerman to start the ninth inning.
Pitching from starter Jonathan Foreman and relievers Will Currier (1-0) and Marcus Stroman allowed Duke to overtake a late 4-3 deficit with Currier notching the win and Stroman collecting the save. Foreman provided Duke with five solid innings in which he gave up four runs, though only three were earned.
Duke got started early again, scoring three runs in the first inning. The top of the order did its job by loading the bases on singles from Brady and Gould and a walk to Carroll. Piwnica-Worms and O'Grady kept the rally going with consecutive RBI singles, with O'Grady's driving in two runs. Piwnica-Worms sent his RBI knock into center field while O'Grady drove his hard down the left field line. Both of those run-scoring hits came in two-strike counts.
Foreman struck out two in a scoreless first inning, but served up a leadoff solo home run to Cone. After surrendering the solo shot to left field to Cone, Foreman dished out a walk and allowed a single to Kyle Farmer that left runners at the corners with one out. Duke's defense once again came through though, as second baseman Marcus Stroman caught a popup over his shoulder in the outfield for the second out. Gould then snagged a ground ball off the bag for the third out.
Verdin got ahold of another offering to lead off the third to give Georgia its second long ball of the game. The Bulldogs would tie the game in the next inning on an infield single from Josh Taylor that plated Todd Hankins. That run was charged as unearned to Foreman after Taylor reached base on an error.
Another infield single in the bottom of the fifth put Georgia on top for the first time in the game. Brett DeLoach, who came to the plate with two outs and men at the corners, hit a high chopper to deep shortstop and beat Lemmerman's throw by a half step to allow Cone to score from third. Cone reached with his third hit of the game and was just a double short of hitting for the cycle after his first three at bats.
After Walters held Duke scoreless after the first inning, he handed the ball to right-hander Ben Cornwell with two outs in the top of the sixth. With O'Grady on second base for Duke following a wild pitch, Cornwell did his job and got out of the inning unharmed. Duke countered by sending Currier to the mound in place of Foreman for Georgia's next go-round, and he matched that effort with a scoreless sixth inning.
Duke's bats woke up in the top of the seventh and tagged four hits to retake the lead at 5-4. Stroman started the rally with a base hit to left field and, after moving over to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Litwin, came home all the way from second base on a shallow single to left by Brady. Carroll and Lemmerman then followed with consecutive singles with Lemmerman driving in Brady with his base knock to left field. Lemmerman's single prompted a pitching change that sent right-hander Evan Tieles to the mound, which worked out for Georgia as he induced two straight popups to escape the jam with no further damage.
With a 5-4 lead to protect, Duke called on Stroman to take the mound in his first collegiate pitching appearance. The 5-8, 185 pound right-hander came out firing, striking out the first batter he saw before fanning one more for the final out.
A perfectly executed hit-and-run by Duke in the top of the eighth set the table for two more runs that increased Duke's lead to 7-4. Saade started the rally with a rally with a two-strike, leadoff single up the middle and then moved over two bases on the hit-and-run that saw Stroman place a ground ball through the right side for a hit. With men at the corners after the play, Saade cruised home on a wild pitch for the first run before another wild pitch sent Stroman to third. Brady then cleared the bases with a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Brady and put Duke ahead three runs heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Georgia took back one of those in the bottom of the eighth, but Lemmerman took it right back with his first home run of the year. Lemmerman fell behind 1-2 in the count, but turned on an inside fastball and sent it sailing well over the left field wall. The long ball was the first of the season for Duke and the first of two more runs in the inning for Duke. The second came on a sacrifice fly ball from Saade that drove in Piwnica-Worms.
Stroman stayed in the game to record the final three outs for Duke, and he came through to pick up his first career save. Cone knocked a double into the left field gap with one out to complete his quest for the cycle, but was stranded on third when Stroman retired the final two batters. With the win, Duke has now defeated a top-25 opponent in each of the last four seasons.
Duke concludes opening weekend on Sunday with a 10 a.m. (CT) rematch against No. 22 Georgia. The Blue Devils have not announced a starter for their final game of the weekend.