BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Campbell took a 3-0 lead in the third and held the Blue Devils off the rest of the way en route to a 6-3 victory over the Duke baseball team Tuesday evening at Jim Perry Stadium.
The Camels registered five of their 10 hits with runners in scoring position, while the Blue Devils were unable to capitalize on their opportunities. Duke was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base overall.
“I thought it was a good ball game,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “What cost us is that we left a lot of runners in scoring position early in the game. Over the first five innings, we had seven guys in scoring position. We only scored one of them. Credit Campbell; they did a good job of generating their offense in the third inning. For the rest of the game, they did a good job with their two-out offense. They came up with a couple of big two-out hits in the seventh inning when we had closed the gap a little bit.”
Duke put the leadoff men aboard in both the first and the second, but was unable to plate a run in either inning.
The Blue Devils kept the potent Camel offense off the board in the first two frames before Campbell sent three around in the third. Center fielder Ben McQuown executed a perfect hit-and-run following a Clayton Brown base hit to put men at the corners with no outs. A Brent Graham groundout to second plated the first run of the game before Michael Felton followed with a single to right over the outstretched glove of Duke first baseman Chris Marconcini. Designated hitter David Olson added the Camels’ fourth hit of the inning to score Felton, making it 3-0 in favor of Campbell.
Duke manufactured a run in the fifth as junior third baseman Jordan Betts delivered the RBI single with two outs. Senior Jeff Kremer was hit by a pitch and Marconcini reached on an error credited to the Campbell third baseman. Betts then sent the 3-1 offering from Camel starter Heath Bowers up the middle for his team-leading 19th RBI on the year. With the tying run at second, Bowers induced a grounder to second to get out of the jam.
Bowers (5-0) turned in a standout performance against the Blue Devils, giving up two unearned runs in 6.2 innings of work. The Camel righty struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
Campbell answered in the bottom half of the fifth to regain the three-run margin. A leadoff walked would prove costly as the run crossed the plate on an Olson high chopper to third with two down.
With a runner on first and two outs, Campbell center fielder McQuown dropped a towering fly ball off the bat of Marconcini to score Duke’s second unearned run of the game, cutting the Camels’ lead to 4-2.
However, three straight two-out hits in the bottom of the seventh scored a pair for the Camels, who took a 6-2 advantage into the ninth.
Duke’s final run of the game crossed the plate in the ninth as Angelo La Bruna scored on a Grant McCabe sac fly after doubling to start the frame.
Kremer went 2-for-4 with a run scored out of the leadoff spot, while Betts was 2-for-3 with an RBI. La Bruna, junior Mark Lumpa and freshman Kenny Koplove added the remaining Blue Devil hits.
Freshman Michael Matuella (2-2) took the loss. The rookie right-hander tossed two complete, allowing three runs on four hits.
Duke faces its second non-conference opponent in as many days Wednesday, traveling to North Carolina A&T for a 6 p.m., start at War Memorial Stadium.