DURHAM, N.C. – Duke concluded its nine-game home stand with a decisive 10-3 victory over Maryland Eastern Shore Tuesday evening at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Duke (12-11, 3-3 ACC) was patient in its offensive approach, capitalizing on six walks and three Hawks’ errors. Four of the Blue Devils’ seven hits went for extra bases as Chris Proctor, Griffin Conine, Jack Labosky and Matt Mervis all doubled.
Juniors Michael Smiciklas and Peter Zyla both drove in two RBI, while Proctor went 2-for-3 with two runs. In addition to his third-inning opposite field double, Conine reached base in three of his five plate appearances and scored three runs.
“When we’re in hitters counts and we’re stubborn enough to get our pitch, we get the type of contact we’re looking for,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “Conine was a great example tonight. He took what was given to him. When he didn’t get his pitch he was patient and drew two walks. When he got his pitch, he drove it off the monster in left field.”
Freshman left-hander Graeme Stinson dominated his third career start recording half of his 12 outs via strikeout. The rookie southpaw allowed one single in four scoreless innings with six punchouts and no walks.
“That was [Stinson’s] best outing to this point,” Pollard added. “He was probably 72 percent strikes. The fastball was electric. He was up to 95 multiple times early in the ballgame. Was very aggressive to the zone and did a good job of hunting contact.”
“Stinson had four innings where he didn’t throw more than 14 pitches in an inning,” Pollard said. “Kevin Lewallyn came in behind him and did the exact same thing … was aggressive to the zone, attacked. He produced swings and misses with three different pitches. All in all, it was a well-pitched ballgame.”
In the bottom of the first, Smiciklas extended his current hit streak to five games with a two-out, two-run single up the middle to begin the scoring. The Smiciklas base knock plated Conine and Labosky who both reached with two outs via a walk and double, respectively.
“That was textbook there in the first inning,” Pollard said. “Griffin does a good job of extending the inning with a really good at bat. Jack [Labosky] and [Smiciklas] with two really good two outs hits behind him. [Smiciklas] continues to swing a hot bat.”
Duke doubled its advantage in the fourth as Proctor led off the with single and Conine belted a double off the Blue Monster. A wild pitch coupled with a Zyla sacrifice fly gave Duke a 4-0 advantage.
Proctor greeted the fifth with a leadoff double, igniting a three-run inning. A Maryland Eastern Shore error and Zyla RBI fielder’s choice accounted for the frame’s scoring.
The Blue Devils scored an eighth run in the sixth before Maryland Eastern Shore totaled all of its runs in the seventh. The Hawks recorded three singles, including a two-run base knock from Jordan Martin, in the three-run inning.
A couple Hawks errors resulted in two more Duke runs the following stanza. Up 10-3, Labosky retired all three batters he faced to close out the game.
Duke travels to Charlottesville, Va., for its first ACC road series, taking on No. 20 Virginia in a three-game series at Davenport Field this coming weekend.