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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Matt Mervis
Duke Falls to Miami Sunday
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 04/09/2017
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Miami scored four runs in the first and used four pitchers to shut out Duke in a 7-0 series-clinching victory over the Blue Devils Sunday afternoon at Mark Light Field.

Miami (15-16, 7-7 ACC) chased freshman Adam Laskey (2-3) with one out in the first, plating four runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batter. Center fielder Carl Chester lifted a three-run homer and would finish the day with four RBI. The Hurricanes later used a pair of leadoff walks to score three in the fifth.

“In 17 innings, we’ve given up four big innings and they’ve all started with free offense,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “When we don’t give them free bases, we’ve held them very much in check.”

Three Hurricane pitchers – Jeb Bargfeldt (3-2), Keven Pimental, Andrew Cabezas and Frankie Bartow -- then combined to shut out Duke (16-17, 5-9 ACC) for the first time since Feb. 27 against Southern California. The Blue Devils totaled eight hits, but were unable to find the gaps with runners on, posting a 1-for-12 day with runners in scoring position.

“We swung it better than the scoreboard would indicate,” Pollard said. “We got guys on base. We had some loud outs with runners in scoring position. Griffin [Conine] and Jack [Labosky] both lined out on well struck baseballs with runners in scoring position. [Chris] Proctor did the same thing. We hit some balls hard right at people.”

Shortstop Zack Kone turned in a 2-for-4 outing and seven different Blue Devils had a hit in the contest. Left fielder Michael Smiciklas singled in the third to extend his hit streak to 15 games.

Miami scored three before an out was record in the first. Following a Randy Batista leadoff walk, Duke’s throw to first on James Davsion’s sacrifice bunt pulled first baseman Justin Bellinger off the bag. Chester then went deep to put the Hurricanes up early, 3-0. The next four Miami batters reached against Laskey to plate Miami’s fourth run. Freshman Matt Mervis took the mound with the bases loaded and engineered a strikeout plus a fly ball to end the frame.

Mervis pitched well in relief, tossing 3.2 scoreless innings to keep the game in check. The Blue Devils also received 3.1 shutout innings from Chris McGrath who allowed just one hit during his outing.

“Seven innings, three hits … I thought both of them pitched exceptionally well,” Pollard said. “Preserved our bullpen for tomorrow. Mervis got us off the field in the first and gave us three good innings after. Stayed aggressive. Chris McGrath came in and did the same thing. Got us off the field in the fifth and put up three zeroes behind it.”

The Hurricanes struck for three following Mervis’ departure. Back-to-back walks began the fifth. Batista and Chester knocked RBI singles and Davison laid down a bunt to drive in the Hurricane runs.

Duke and Miami conclude the series at 7 p.m., Monday, April 10 on ESNPU.