MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – For the second consecutive season, Duke is headed to the NCAA Super Regionals after the Blue Devils defeated second-seeded Texas A&M, 4-1, to win the 2019 NCAA Morgantown Regional Sunday evening at Monongalia County Ballpark.
A season-high four RBI from graduate student Kyle Gallagher powered the Blue Devils (34-25) over the 19th-ranked Aggies (39-23-1) in the regional final, as Duke concluded the regional with a perfect 3-0 record to secure the program’s second-ever Super Regional appearance. The Blue Devils next face the second-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville, Tenn.
“First and foremost, congratulations to the other three teams in our regional,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “This was the reward for (our guys) for staying in the fight for what has been a trying season at times for us. You look at the record and wonder why it was trying; just having to go through the kind of setbacks and injuries and getting off to a slow start in the ACC. These guys had to stay really tough and resilient and stay together, and they did and they kept playing hard for each other. They kept playing hard for our culture, and because of that, they were in a position to pull off something really great this weekend.”
Duke jumped out to an early lead for the third game in a row, with three runs in the very first frame. With two down, junior Matt Mervis lined a single to right field before sophomore Michael Rothenberg reached on a walk to place runners on first and second. Gallagher used the next at-bat to connect on a three-run shot to right field, marking his seventh home run of the season to put the Blue Devils ahead 3-0 after one inning of action.
Texas A&M plated its lone run of the contest in the third, starting things with a leadoff double. After a single placed runners on the corners, a sacrifice fly brought across the first run of the contest for the Aggies to make it a 3-1 ballgame.
The Blue Devils responded with a run of their own in the home half, started by a bunt single from senior Kennie Taylor to lead off the frame. After Taylor advanced to second on a balk, Gallagher delivered a RBI double to left field to score Taylor and set the score at 4-1, the eventual final.
Duke used a combination of three arms in the ballgame, started by junior left-hander Bill Chillari. Chillari worked the first 4.2 innings, allowing one earned run on seven hits and one walk while collecting three strikeouts. Freshman Jack Carey (4-1) picked up the win, covering 2.1 scoreless frames, yielding only one hit and one walk while recording two strikeouts. Sophomore Matt Dockman earned his second save of the season, going the final 2.0 innings, scattering only one hit while striking out one.
Five Blue Devils were named to NCAA Morgantown Regional All-Tournament Team in junior Erikson Nichols, sophomores Bryce Jarvis and Chris Crabtree, graduate students Ben Gross and Gallagher. Jarvis was selected as the regional’s Most Valuable Player for his career performance in the game against West Virginia, where he tossed eight shutout innings, collecting a career-high 11 strikeouts.
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