DURHAM, N.C. – A 12-run bottom of the eighth turned a tie game into a blowout as No. 19 Duke defeated Notre Dame, 16-4, Sunday afternoon at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. With the win, Duke (24-5, 9-3 ACC) secured its first ACC series sweep since 2014.
Tied 4-4 entering the eighth, Duke sent 18 batters to the plate in the bottom half, totaling eight hits, six walks and a hit batter. Jimmy Herron’s RBI base hit broke the four-all tie before a Chris Proctor RBI single put the Blue Devils ahead by two. Ten Blue Devils reached safely with two outs to give Duke a substantial advantage heading to the final frame.
Proctor also added a three-run triple in the eighth. In that inning alone, he accounted for two hits, two runs and four RBI. Zack Kone, Max Miller, Kennie Taylor and Michael Rothenberg also ended the afternoon with two hits apiece. In total, the Blue Devils matched their season high of 15 hits while putting up their highest run total since plating 19 March 24, 2017 at Virginia.
“We strung together some really good at bats in the eighth inning,” said head Coach Chris Pollard. “We kept our foot on the gas pedal. Obviously, people will look at the score and think lop-sided game, but it wasn’t. [Notre Dame] had the go-ahead run on in the top of the eighth. We were able to bust out there in the bottom of the eighth.”
Freshman Bryce Jarvis (2-0) picked up the win after pitching a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts. Duke used five pitchers in total, starting with six complete innings from Ryan Day. Day allowed three runs on five hits in his fourth quality start of the season, tying a career high with eight strikeouts.
“It was a pretty complete game by our team,” Pollard said. “What shouldn’t get lost in this is a great start by Ryan Day. I know he’d really like to have one pitch back, but take that away and a lot of swings and misses. He was really in the zone. His stuff really played up. I give a lot of credit to the adjustments he made in the middle of the week. Great job out of our bullpen. I thought the inning by Bryce Jarvis was really, really big right there when that’s anybody’s ballgame.”
Both teams received solo homers to center in the fourth to plate the game’s first two runs. After Notre Dame’s Matt Vierling homered in the top half, Griffin Conine answered with his sixth home run of the season.
Notre Dame (11-16, 4-8 ACC) regained the lead in the fifth on Daniel Jung’s two-run longball that snuck just inside the right field foul pole. Duke’s first three batters in the sixth reached and scored as Taylor, Rothenberg and Proctor knocked in a run each. The Fighting Irish then tied the score to start the seventh, receiving a two-out Cole Daily RBI single.
A one-out walk to Rothenberg would start a bottom of the eighth that ultimately lasted 43 minutes. Up 16-4 to start the ninth, Bill Chillari closed out the game with a clean final inning.
Duke travels to Richmond Tuesday and hosts Campbell Wednesday before diving back into ACC play with a road series at Wake Forest.