CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Duke baseball team used an all-around effort to earn a Sunday doubleheader sweep, taking the first game 2-1 and the second 8-6 at Disharoon Park. With the two victories, the Blue Devils claim their first series victory in Charlottesville since 1968, and improve to 11-5 on the campaign.
“We certainly executed well in a lot of different phases,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “I’m particularly proud of the two starts that we got. Bryce Jarvis gave us a fantastic start. Bill Chillari came out making his first ACC start, working a career-high pitch count wise, and really grinded deep into the ballgame. Today was about toughness. It was a gut-check day for our guys and we were absolutely blue collar.”
Duke used a standout pitching performance in game one followed by a strong offensive effort in game two to sweep the day. The Blue Devil pitching staff limited to the Cavalier offense to only one run (unearned), before the Duke offense came alive in the second game of the twinbill, launching three long balls to secure the series victory.
The Blue Devils return to the field Tuesday afternoon for the first of eight straight contests at home, welcoming East Carolina to Durham Bulls Athletic Park for a midweek matchup. The two teams are set for a 4 p.m. first pitch.
The Blue Devil offense got out to an early start in game one of the doubleheader, plating one run in both the first and second innings. Three consecutive singles from senior Kennie Taylor, sophomore Michael Rothenberg and freshman Rudy Maxwell loaded the bases for junior Erikson Nichols, who recorded his 11th RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to left field to cross the game’s first run.
Duke added another run in the second, using a leadoff single from freshman Ethan Murray and a walk from freshman RJ Schreck to place runners on first and second to begin the inning. After a sacrifice bunt advanced both runners 90 feet to second and third, a sacrifice fly from sophomore Chris Crabtree allowed a run to score, pushing the Blue Devils ahead 2-0.
Virginia plated their lone run of the contest in the home half of the fourth to make it a one-run contest. The scoring sequence began with a one-out single from the Cavaliers. One out later, a RBI double paired with a Blue Devil fielding miscue allowed one run to cross, setting the score at 2-1, the eventual final.
On the mound, Bryce Jarvis (2-0) provided the Blue Devils with an impressive outing to earn his second win of the season. The sophomore right-hander worked a career-high 7.0 innings, allowing one unearned run on six hits and two walks, while recording four strikeouts before turning it over to his bullpen. Senior Hunter Davis tossed the final 2.0 frames, allowing only one hit to finish off the game to record his first career save and even the series at one apiece.
Offensively, the duo of Rothenberg and Nichols paced the Blue Devils with two hits apiece, with Nichols adding a RBI to his totals.
Duke used another early effort in game two of the doubleheader, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the first. Crabtree, the leadoff man, sent the first pitch of the contest to opposite field for a solo shot to give the Blue Devils the early one-run lead.
After two scoreless frames, the Blue Devils added a trio of runs across the fourth and fifth innings to extend the lead. After a leadoff single from Nichols, junior Matt Mervis launched a ball to left-center for a two-run shot, pushing Duke’s lead to 3-0.
In the fifth, Crabtree began the frame with a leadoff single before advancing into scoring position on a wild pitch. One batter later, Rothenberg collected his 17th RBI of the season with a single to right center to score one for the Blue Devils and extend the advantage to 4-0.
Virginia responded in the home half with a run of its own to move into the scoring column. A pair of hit-by-pitches placed runners on first and second before a walk loaded the bases for the Cavaliers. A passed ball in the next at-bat allowed a run to cross, making it a 4-1 contest after five full.
The Blue Devils added four in the seventh to widen the margin to a sizeable advantage. The inning started with a pair of singles from Crabtree and Taylor before Rothenberg reached on a hit-by-pitch. In the next at-bat, Maxwell sent the second pitch he saw to deep left field for his first career grand slam to move Duke ahead 8-1 heading into the stretch.
The Cavaliers answered back the very next frame with a four-run inning to chip away at the lead. Virginia used a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases before a fielder’s choice and a Duke fielding miscue allowed a pair of runs to cross. After a sacrifice fly scored another run for UVA, a RBI single plated the inning’s fourth and final run of the inning to set the score at 8-5 after seven innings of play.
Virginia added one more in the eighth to make things interesting. The Cavaliers used a leadoff double to place a runner into scoring position. Two outs later, a single through the left side scored one run to make it an 8-6 ballgame, the eventual final.
Making his first start in conference in conference action, junior left-hander Bill Chillari turned in a solid performance for the Blue Devils. The southpaw worked 4.2 innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits while recording three strikeouts across a career-high 73-pitch effort.
The foursome of graduate student Ben Gross, freshman Kyle Salley, Mervis and sophomore Thomas Girard worked the final 4.1 frames to secure the victory. Making the switch from third base to pitcher, Mervis (1-0) earned his first win of the season in his 1.1 innings of relief, allowing one earned run. Girard recorded his second save of the season, tossing the final 1.1 frames to clinch the win.
Offensively, Crabtree paced the team with three hits, adding one RBI and a team-high three runs scored. Maxwell led the team in RBI, contributing four, which all came in the form of his grand slam.
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