DURHAM, N.C. – Duke scored a combined 10 runs in the sixth and seventh innings to defeat Presbyterian 14-6 in a non-conference midweek matchup Wednesday evening at Jack Coombs Field.
Duke (22-21) totaled nine hits in the contest and took advantage of nine walks and five hit batters to grow a sizeable advantage. Presbyterian (21-22) led 3-2 early before the Blue Devils took the lead in the fourth and broke the game open in the sixth and seventh.
“We stayed patient,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “A lot of what we were able to get from a free offense stand point was because we stayed disciplined. We didn't expand our zone. We were able to string together free offense and we were very good on the bases.”
Sophomore Kennie Taylor was the only Blue Devil with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with three runs. Junior Max Miller reached base in all five of his plate appearances, notching a single, three walks and an HBP. Sophomore Griffin Conine added two walks, a base hit and an HBP as well.
After a Brett Auckland solo home run in the first, sophomore Jimmy Herron walked, stole second, advanced to third on a grounder and scored on a balk to even the score, 1-1, through one. Free offense helped the Blue Devils in the second. The inning's first batter, Michael Smiciklas was hit by a pitch and eventually scored on an Erikson Nichols' sacrifice fly.
The Blue Hose first three batters reached in a two-run third that saw Presbyterian stake a 3-2 lead. Glen Casaceli and Cletis Avery both drove in runs in the frame.
Duke regained the upper hand for good in the fourth. Michael Smiciklas doubled and Taylor singled to place runners at first and third with no outs. A passed ball and Chris Dutra RBI grounder gave Duke the lead.
Presbyterian gave Duke ample free offense in the sixth and seventh to put the game out of reach. Four Blue Hose pitchers combined for seven walks and three hit batters in the two frames. A hit batter, walk and bunt single loaded the bases for Herron's sixth-inning two-run double. Jack Labosky also added an RBI double in the frame. Duke had just one hit in the seventh, but scored six runs thanks to five walks and two hit batters.
Ten Duke pitchers took the mound over the course of the game. Freshman Matt Mervis (2-1) worked a scoreless fourth to record the win. Presbyterian starter Hunter Kyzar (0-5) suffered the loss, yielding four runs on three hits on three innings.
Next up, Duke hits the road for Notre Dame Friday-Sunday, April 28-30.