DURHAM, N.C. – In the bottom of the 11th in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, freshman Steve Mann laced a pinch-hit walkoff single through the left side to lift Duke to its first series victory over No. 18 Virginia since 2008. After falling 3-0 in game one, the Blue Devils battled back for the 3-2 victory in the nightcap.
Duke (12-3, 2-1 ACC) suffered its first shutout of the season, 3-0, as the Blue Devils were unable to push across a run against Virginia’s combination of starter Daniel Lynch (1-2) and reliever Andrew Abbott.
Lynch pitched seven scoreless innings, yielding three hits and two walks while striking out seven. Abbott threw two frames to finish the game and record his second save of the season.
Ryan Day (1-1) suffered the loss despite turning in his third quality start of the season. Day scattered eight hits over six complete, allowing three runs, two earned.
Chris Proctor accounted for two of the Blue Devils’ four hits. Duke’s junior catcher singled in the second and doubled in the fifth. Jimmy Herron and Zack Kone added a base hit each.
UVA’s Cameron Comer doubled twice, scoring one run and driving in another. Virginia plated a lone run in the first, fourth and seventh.
The Blue Devils trailed 2-0 after the first before tying the game late to force extra innings. With two outs and runners at first and second in the bottom of the 11th, Mann drove a 1-1 pitch in to left field to score fellow freshman Michael Rothenberg from second for the game-winning run.
Rothenberg and Max Miller both beat out back-to-back infield singles to begin Duke’s 11th-inning rally, providing baserunners for Mann’s base knock.
Prior to the 11th, the Blue Devils had little success against UVA reliever Bennett Sousa (1-2) who pitched 4.1 innings in relief. Sousa fanned nine batters, allowing the one run on three hits in the loss.
Sousa’s effort was matched by Duke reliever Jack Labosky (1-0) whose 4.0 scoreless innings earned him the win. With the game tied at 2-2, Labosky retired the first nine batters he faced. Virginia loaded the bases in the 11th, but a line drive double play to Zack Kone at shortstop ended the threat.
Labosky also provided the game-tying hit, driving an RBI double to right field in the bottom of the seventh. Labosky’s double plated Chris Proctor who had walked for the second time.
Duke’s first run came an inning earlier. Freshman Joey Loperfido drew a one-out walk, Kone drilled a double off the Blue Monster and Griffin Conine lifted a sacrifice fly to right.
Prior to the sixth, UVA starter Evan Sperling stymied the Blue Devil offense. Sperling retired the first 12 batters he faced before a Conine fifth-inning single ended the perfect game. In the no decision, Sperling allowed two runs on three hits over 6.1 innings, striking out a career-high 12.
Blue Devil starter Mitch Stallings turned in his best outing of the spring in the no decision. Virginia scored two runs in the first on two singles and an error, but Stallings settled in to throw 5.1 scoreless frames after the first. Overall, Stallings gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits, striking out a season-high eight batters while issuing just one walk.
Virginia failed to score a run after the first. Reliever Matt Mervis inherited two runners in the seventh but got Duke off the field without further damage before Labosky took over.