DURHAM, N.C. – A 2-2 tie in the eighth inning was broken by three Northwestern runs as the Wildcats held off the Duke baseball team by a 5-3 final score Sunday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The loss was Duke’s first of the season and dropped the team to 6-1 on the season while Northwestern upped its record to 3-4.
A pinch-hit triple by Leo Kaplan drove in the go-ahead run for Northwestern with one out in the top of the eighth and Kaplan scored the insurance run on a single through the drawn-in infield by Jack Dunn.
On the mound for Duke, freshman Cooper Stinson went the first 3.1 innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on seven hits and two walks to go along with seven strikeouts. Making his first career appearance, freshman Kyle Salley tossed the next 3.1 frames, yielding one hit and one walk mixed around four whiffs. Junior Eli Herrick suffered the loss (0-1), throwing 0.2 innings and allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits and a walk. Sophomore Thomas Girard recorded the final five outs of the contest, three via the strikeout.
Northwestern’s Quinn Lavelle went a strong six innings with two runs allowed, one earned, on six hits and one walk with three strikeouts. Parker Hanks (1-0) relieved and earned the win, working the seventh inning. Josh Levy surrendered one run on a home run in the eighth before Nick Paciorek came on and locked down his second save of the season.
For the second consecutive game, Northwestern struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Anthony Calarco led off with a single up the middle and went to third on a one-out single from David Dunn. Michael Trautwein brought in Calarco with a single through the right side for the game’s first run. A failed pickoff by Stinson put runners on second and third with one out, but he rebounded with consecutive strikeouts to end the frame.
The Wildcats added a run in the top of the fourth to push their advantage to 2-0. Trautwein led off with a single and moved to second on a groundout. A Jack Dunn single through the left side put runners on the corners and Trautwein came home on a passed ball. A strikeout and fly out ended the threat.
The Blue Devils broke through in the bottom of the fourth with a run to trim the deficit in half at 2-1. After a groundout began the frame before freshman Rudy Maxwell reached on an error and advanced to third on a single by junior Erikson Nichols to right center. Gallagher followed with a RBI single through the right side to cross Duke’s first run of the day just before a double play prevented further damage.
In the bottom of the sixth, Duke loaded the bases with one out on consecutive singles from Rothenberg, Maxwell and Nichols. A sacrifice fly from Gallagher plated Rothenberg with the tying run to even the game at two apiece.
Northwestern broke the deadlock in the eighth with a trio of runs for a 5-2 edge. David Dunn led off with a single and scored on a one-out triple by Kaplan. Kaplan scored on Jack Dunn’s single to make it 4-2 and Dunn came around to score with a wild pitch, throwing error and wild pitch.
Rothenberg led off the bottom of the eighth with a solo home run for Duke’s final tally.
The Blue Devils are back in action Tuesday at 4 p.m. versus Richmond at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
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