DURHAM, N.C. – Junior Matt Berezo, sophomore Grant McCabe and freshman Kenny Koplove had three hits each as the Duke baseball team won its fifth straight Tuesday evening, downing visiting Davidson 9-3 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Davidson (8-19, 5-11 SoCon) opened the game with an early 1-0 lead, but Duke (17-13, 6-6 ACC) scored at least one run in four of the five opening frames to secure an advantage it would not relinquish the rest of the way. The Blue Devils churned out 13 hits and capitalized on nine walks issued by the Wildcat pitchers.
Berezo finished the night 3-for-4 at the plate with a season-high three RBI, while McCabe went 3-for-5 with three runs scored. Koplove raised his average to a team-best .354 with his 3-for-5 performance against the Wildcats. The Duke freshman shortstop also knocked in an RBI and scored a run in the contest.
Rookie James Marvel (4-2) recorded his fourth victory in as many starts, going five complete with a career-high seven strikeouts. The Moraga, Calif., native allowed two runs on six hits and did not issue a walk.
Davidson’s first two batters – Sam Foy and Michael Zeblo - both singled to center to lead off the game as the Wildcats had runners at second and third with no outs. Marvel got a strikeout and a groundout before a Ryan Lowe infield single scored the first run of the night. Zeblo also tried to score on the play, but was gunned down at the plate by Duke first baseman Chris Marconcini.
Duke wasted little time answering, putting two runs on the board in the bottom half of the inning. Senior Jeff Kremer, who ended the night with three walks, got the offense started with a base on balls before swiping second. Junior Jordan Betts extended his current hit streak to 12 games with an RBI double to left to tie the game at 1-1. Redshirt sophomore Chris Marconcini skied a ball on the infield the following pitch, but Foy was unable to make the catch, resulting in a 2-1 advantage for the Blue Devils as Betts was able to score on the play.
The Blue Devils scored a single run the next inning to extend their lead to 3-0. Koplove singled to begin the frame and a Davidson error coupled with a Mark Lumpa bunt single loaded the bases. Koplove would score Duke’s third run on a double play ball before the Wildcats were able to work out of the inning.
A Zeblo RBI triple pulled Davidson within one in the third, 3-2, but Duke again had an answer as McCabe singled and then scored on a Berezo RBI double.
The Blue Devil offense kept at it, plating a run on a Marconcini RBI single in the fifth to take a 5-2 advantage.
Davidson took advantage of the lone walk issued by the Duke pitching staff to once again cut into the Blue Devils’ lead. Center fielder Forrest Brandt drew the four-pitch walk and crossed home plate on a Lowe base hit. The Wildcats threatened to push more across, but Kremer threw out Lowe at the plate as the Davidson designated hitter tried to score from second on a Chris Dyer base knock.
With its lead down to two, Duke utilized four walks –two with the bases loaded - and a pair of singles in the seventh to stake a five-run advantage. The Blue Devils added their last run in the eighth as Berezo delivered a two-out single for this third RBI on the night.
Freshman Nick Hendrix and sophomore Andrew Istler each worked a scoreless inning in relief for the Blue Devils. In total, the Duke pitching staff combined for 13 strikeouts and just one walk against the Wildcats.
Davidson starter Rob Bain (0-3) suffered the loss, surrendering four runs – two earned – on five hits over 2.2 innings of work. Zelbo and Lowe both went 3-for-4 at the plate to pace the Wildcat offense.
Duke returns to ACC action this weekend, welcoming No. 12 Georgia Tech to Jack Coombs Field. Game times are Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.