DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke baseball team dropped a 12-6 decision to Campbell on Wednesday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Fighting Camels (12-8) pounded out 17 hits and scored in five of the first six frames en route to the victory.
Duke (12-9) was paced at the plate by freshman Rudy Maxwell and senior Kennie Taylor, who combined to collect five hits, three doubles, three runs batted in and one scored. Maxwell extended his team-best hitting streak to 13 games and collected his sixth multiple-hit contest of the campaign, tied for the second most on the squad. Taylor tallied his 12th multiple-hit game to pace the Blue Devils, who left 14 on base during the contest.
The Fighting Camels got a solid starting pitching performance from Kevin Westlake, who earned the win after going 5.1 innings, scattering six hits and seven walks. He allowed four runs and fanned three in improving to 1-1 on the season. Jonathan Tyler recorded one out and yielded two runs on two hits and two walks to go along with one whiff. Landry Moore picked up the last 3.1 frames, scattering two hits and fanning a trio with one walk to earn his third save of the season.
Campbell used a two-out rally to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning. With two down, Luis Gimenez singled through the left side and Spencer Packard was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch moved both runners up a base before a Collin Wolf single up the middle plated the pair. A strikeout ended the threat.
The Fighting Camels took advantage of another two-out chance and made it a 3-0 advantage in the third frame. With two outs, Gimenez singled and Packard followed with double down the left-field line that drove in Gimenez. A fly out to center field prevented further damage.
Duke answered in the bottom of the third with a run, scored with two outs, to make it a 3-1 contest. Junior Chase Cheek and sophomore Michael Rothenberg led off with consecutive walks. After a strikeout and pop out, Maxwell doubled off the video board in left center to plate Cheek, scoring the Blue Devils’ first run of the day.
Campbell immediately answered with two runs in the top of the fourth to go up 5-1. Zach Minnick led off with a single and moved to third on a single to right center from Grant Harris. A third consecutive single to start the frame, this one from Koby Collins to left center, drove in Minnick and moved Harris to third. After a sacrifice bunt advanced Collins to second, Matthew Barefoot’s sacrifice fly to right delivered Harris for the four-run cushion.
The Fighting Camels scratched across two more runs in the fifth for a 7-1 lead. With one down, Wolf singled through the right side and scored on a Minnick double down the left-field line. After a groundout moved Minnick to third, he scored on a Collins infield single deep in the shortstop hole to increase the Fighting Camels’ lead to six.
Campbell pushed four more home in the top of the sixth to go ahead 11-1. Barefoot led off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Tyler Anshaw’s single to right field. Gimenez singled to left center and Packard walked to fill the base with no outs. A fielder’s choice from Wolf plated Anshaw and left runners on the corners with one down for Minnick, who hit a sacrifice fly to right to make it a 10-1 game and advance Wolf to second. Cameron Witt singled to right with two outs to drive in Wolf to cap the inning’s scoring.
Duke tallied its final five runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it an 11-6 contest. Freshman Ethan Murray led off with a single to right before consecutive one-out walks to Rothenberg and sophomore Chris Crabtree loaded the bases. A double to left from Taylor plated Murray and Rothenberg to cut the deficit to 11-3. Sophomore Wil Hoyle was hit by a pitch to reload the bases. One out later, junior Erikson Nichols dropped a single into left center to drive in Crabtree and Taylor. Freshman Damon Lux drew a free pass to refill the bases for the third time in the inning to set up Murray, who drew a free pass to force in Hoyle, crossing the inning’s fifth and final run.
In the top of the ninth, the Fighting Camels dented the scoreboard for the final time, scoring one more to make it a 12-6 ballgame, the eventual final.
Duke used nine pitchers Wednesday. Freshman Cooper Stinson (0-1) took the loss, going the first inning and allowing two runs on two hits with one strikeout. Junior Al Pesto provided the pitching highlight for the relief corps, throwing two scoreless innings, the seventh and eighth, allowing two hits and striking out one. Graduate student Ben Gross also pitched a perfect inning, in the second.
The Blue Devils host their second ACC series of the season this weekend, welcoming Wake Forest to Durham Bulls Athletic Park. First pitch Friday is slated for 4 p.m. while the Saturday and Sunday contests will begin at 1 p.m.
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