DURHAM, N.C. – No. 13 Duke downed Virginia Tech, 7-0, in the series finale Sunday afternoon at English Field at Union Park to clinch its sixth ACC series victory of the season. Starter Ryan Day tossed seven shutout innings while Jack Labosky and Griffin Conine both homered in the Blue Devils’ fifth shutout.
Day (3-2) was outstanding in his fifth quality start of the year, keeping Virginia Tech (18-26, 8-16 ACC) off the board for seven complete frames. The right-hander from Phelan, Calif., scattered five singles, did not walk a batter and fanned six.
“It’s maybe as good of an outing as Ryan’s had in his career and on a day when we really needed it,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “To drop that Friday night game in the fashion that we dropped it -- a walkoff, extra-inning game – then to get up off the mat and come back and win two ballgames shows a lot about the resiliency and the toughness of this club. It was led today by a captain on the mound who was really a bulldog for us.”
Labosky’s sixth homer of the season capped a four-run Duke fourth, while Conine’s ninth longball was a two-run, seventh-inning bomb to extend the lead, 7-0. Those two combined for five hits, three runs scored and five RBI on the day.
Labosky and Conine’s efforts were part of a 16-hit outing for the Blue Devils, matching their season high. Jimmy Herron, Joey Loperfido, Max Miller, Michael Smiciklas and Kennie Taylor all had two hits apiece.
After three scoreless innings to start the ballgame, Duke erupted for four runs in the fourth. Loperfido singled and scored on a Conine RBI double to kick start the rally. Miller and Smiciklas both singled and scored before Labosky sent a solo shot to left center.
In the sixth, Labosky roped an RBI single through the left side to score Kennie Taylor and extend the lead before Conine blasted a 3-1 pitch out of the park to start the seventh.
Once Conine’s ball landed, Duke enjoyed a 7-0 margin. Ethan DeCaster and Labosky then pitched a scoreless inning in relief each to wrap up the shutout.
Tech’s Connor Coward (2-5) suffered the loss after allowing five runs on 10 hits over five innings.
Due to the exam period, Duke is off until Sunday, May 6 when the Blue Devils host Gardner-Webb in a 1 p.m., doubleheader at Jack Coombs Field.