DURHAM, N.C. – Junior left-hander Trent Swart struck out a career-high 11 batters to lead the Duke baseball team to a 6-1 victory over La Salle Friday afternoon in the opening game of the inaugural Duke Baseball Classic presented by Homewood Suites by Hilton RDU/RTP.
Swart fanned two batters in each of the first five frames and did not issue a walk in his second start of the young season. He retired 21 of the 27 batters he faced over seven complete innings, permitting just the lone run while scattering six hits. Friday’s game marked the fourth 10-plus strikeout performance of Swart’s collegiate career.
The Blue Devil offense did its part, scoring six runs on a season-high-tying 12 hits. Duke did the majority of the damage in the first two frames, plating two runs in the first on a Chris Marconcini homer and sending three around in the second.
The initial 0-0 tie was short-lived to begin the ball game as Duke took an early lead in the bottom of the first. Second baseman Andy Perez drew the two-out walk before Marconcini drilled starter Alex Faust’s 0-1 offering over the wall in right. The home run was the 13th of Marconcini’s career and first by a Blue Devil this season.
After a career-best 4-for-4 outing Tuesday at UNC Greensboro, Marconcini remained red hot at the plate to start the weekend. The Brentwood, Tenn., went 3-for-4 today while adding two RBI and a run scored.
Designated hitter Aaron Cohn was hit by a pitch to begin a three-run second inning for the Blue Devils. Left fielder Mark Lumpa beat out a bunt single and catcher Mike Rosenfeld delivered an RBI base knock to score Cohn. Perez then stepped to the plate and drilled a two-run double to give the Blue Devils a 5-0 advantage.
La Salle struck for its only run of the ball game in the top of the third. George Smith Jr. singled with one out and ultimately crossed home on a Justin Korenblatt base hit to left.
Duke added its final run in the sixth as shortstop Kenny Koplove led off with a single and Perez ripped a hit to right to drive in the run, his third RBI of the game.
Perez was one of four Blue Devils with two or more hits in the contest. Right fielder Ryan Deitrich matched Marconcini’s three-hit outing with a 3-for-4 performance of his own in his Duke debut while catcher Mike Rosenfeld belted two hits on the day.
Freshman Karl Blum came on in relief and pitched two solid frames to clinch the victory. Blum allowed two hits in two scoreless innings while striking out a pair. Faust (0-1) suffered the loss for La Salle after yielding five runs, all earned, on eight hits in 3.2 innings of work.
Duke returns to action Saturday, Feb. 22, taking on Saint Louis in a 1 p.m. game at Jack Coombs Field.