BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Duke baseball team churned out a season-high-tying 17 hits, including eight for extra bases, and the Blue Devils clinched their fourth ACC series victory with a 13-3 decision over Virginia Tech Saturday at English Field. Duke totaled eight hits with runners in scoring position while the 13 runs are the most the Blue Devils have scored in an ACC game this season.
The Blue Devil offense came out firing on all cylinders as eight of Duke’s nine starters reached base and scored at least one run. Senior Mark Lumpa went 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and two walks to extend his on base streak to 27 consecutive games. Lumpa has also drawn two or more walks in five straight contests.
Sophomore Andy Perez added four singles, his second four-hit game of the year, and scored three runs while redshirt junior Chris Marconcini totaled three hits and three RBI. Marconcini now has a team-best 11 games with multiple RBI to bring his total to 39 runs driven in this season. Senior Jordan Betts added three hits of his own, including two RBI doubles.
“We just had really competitive at bats,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “Guys are starting to feel confident and that’s a big part of it. When you get that, you have a chance to have momentum offensively. Offense is contagious in both directions, and hopefully we’re getting the good kind of contagious.”
Duke (23-17, 11-9 ACC) pounded out nine hits against Tech starter Aaron McGarity (0-2), chasing the right-hander after 3.2 inning of work. The Blue Devils wasted little time staking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Perez sent a one-out single through the right side and stole second to move into scoring position. Marconcini slapped a base hit to the opposite field to register the first RBI.
Betts and Marconcini each added an RBI in the third to put the Blue Devils up, 3-0. Lumpa placed a double just inside the left field line and Perez followed suit with his second single. Lumpa came home on a Betts’ grounder to short and Perez scored on Marconcini’s second RBI base hit in as many at bats.
Five straight Blue Devils reached base with two outs in the fourth, helping Duke to a 6-0 lead. A two-out walk to Reed Anthes seemed harmless until sophomore Kenny Koplove bounced a double down the line and Lumpa drove his fourth triple of the season into the gap in right center. Perez beat out an RBI infield single before Virginia Tech was able to escape the frame.
“Reed [Anthes’] at bat right there was the most important at bat of the game,” Pollard added. “To extend that inning when it looked like nothing was brewing that inning and turn that into a big inning, that was honestly one of the biggest at bats of the year.”
Senior Matt Berezo blasted his first career home run, a two-run shot in the fifth, to pad Duke’s lead at 8-0. Four more Blue Devil runs came home in the sixth as the first five Blue Devils in the frame all reached base. Lumpa drew the first of his two walks, Perez singled for the fourth time and the trio of Betts, Marconcini and Aaron Cohn registered back-to-back-to-back doubles.
Virginia Tech (18-19-1, 7-13 ACC) had its chances early, but the Hokies left seven runners on base over the first three innings, ultimately stranding 17 for the game. Duke starter Trent Swart (3-1) got Phil Sciretta looking to leave runners at the corners in the first before inducing a grounder to escape a bases-loaded jam in the second. Swart retired eight of the final 10 batters he faced to keep the shut out intact heading into the sixth.
The Hokies tallied an unearned run in the seventh to avoid the shutout. Miguel Ceballos reached via an error and Mark Zagunis drove him in with an RBI base hit up the middle. Virginia Tech added two more the following frame on three straight singles from Mac Caples, Ceballos and Zagunis.
Duke and Virginia Tech meet in the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m. at English field.