ATHENS, Ga. – No. 18 Duke erupted for 15 runs on a season-high 22 hits to down Troy, 15-6, in an NCAA Athens Regional elimination game Sunday afternoon at Foley Field.
Eight of the Duke starting nine had at least two hits in the contest and the Blue Devils banged out eight extra base hits, including the first two home runs of freshman Chris Crabtree’s career. Crabtree’s four total hits led the way while Max Miller, Griffin Conine and Chris Proctor had three hits apiece.
After his astonishing performance Saturday, Crabtree earned a spot in the starting lineup and did not disappoint. In addition to the first two home runs of his career, Crabtree reached base in five of his six of his plate appearances, totaling five RBI to go along with two singles and a walk.
Duke’s offense continued to surge following Saturday’s rally versus Campbell. Prior to the seventh inning Saturday, Duke had scored one run on 12 hits over the tournament’s first 15 innings. Since then, the Blue Devils have plated 30 runs on 36 hits, batting .500 (36-for-72) as a team the past 12 frames.
Despite the offensive outburst, it was Troy who struck first, putting four runs on the board in the bottom of the first. Crabtree belted his first career blast to start the second and Duke claimed the lead, 7-5, after a four-run third.
“Congratulations to the Troy program and their success this season,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “They are a very good club, certainly the best we’ve faced offensively all season. I was once again very impressed by the resiliency of our team. We were down four in the first, but we had a lot of poise and handled our offensive approach the best all season.”
The Trojans’ Brandon Lockridge sent a solo shot over the wall in the fourth, but that was the last run the Duke bullpen would allow the remainder of the contest.
Graduate student Ethan DeCaster (6-0) took over with two outs in the first and allowed two runs on five hits over a season-high 4.1 innings to earn his sixth win of the season. Freshman Bryce Jarvis followed with four dominant innings, retiring all 12 batters he faced while fanning eight.
Meanwhile, the offense kept churning out runs, putting three on the board in both the seventh and eighth innings before plating a lone tally in the ninth.
The victory sends Duke into the regional finals to take on host Georgia. The Blue Devils and the Bulldogs square off at 1 p.m., Monday, June 4 Should the Blue Devils win, the two teams would face off again at 5 p.m.