CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Duke baseball team took an early 3-0 lead, but No. 7 Virginia had an answer each time the Blue Devils put runs on the board, ultimately winning the series finale 14-6 Sunday afternoon at Davenport Field. Duke led 3-0 early and cut the lead to one run on two occasions before Virginia put the game away with a five-run seventh.
Duke (25-26, 9-18 ACC) churned out 15 hits, but was unable to keep pace with the Cavaliers’ offense. Virginia (41-8, 20-7 ACC), led by Joe McCarthy and Reed Gragnani with four hits each, also totaled 15 hits in the contest, scoring five runs in both the second and seventh innings.
Redshirt sophomore Chris Marconcini reached base in four of his five plate appearances, going 3-for-4 with a walk. For the weekend, Marconcini hit .556 (5-for-9) with three walks and three runs scored.
Marconcini was one of five Blue Devils with two or more hits Sunday. Sophomore Grant McCabe went 2-for-4 with two RBI, while junior Jordan Betts was 2-for-5 with two runs scored. Senior Jeff Kremer and sophomore Reed Anthes also added two hits each.
Kyle Crockett (4-0) earned the victory, pitching 4.1 innings in relief of UVa starter Nick Howard. Crockett permitted two runs in his first inning of action, but settled down and kept Duke off the board in the sixth, seventh and eighth.
For the first time in the three-game set, Duke put runs on the board first, scoring three in the top of the second. Betts lead off with a base hit through the right side, Marconcini followed suit with a single of his own and Aaron Cohn advanced the pair on a sacrifice bunt. An RBI single from McCabe and a sacrifice fly from Kenny Koplove plated the first two runs before Anthes sent a two-out RBI double to the gap in left center.
Huber ran into trouble in the bottom of the frame as Virginia loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a single. Second baseman Andy Perez made a spectacular diving grab for the first out, but Nate Irving laced an RBI single and Mike Papi cleared the bases with a triple to right center. Two more runs crossed the plate before Hendrix came on and induced a double play to end the inning.
A Duke run on a Perez sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth cut the lead to 5-4, but Virginia responded with two runs with two outs in the bottom of the frame.
In the fifth, Marconcini drew a walk to load the bases and Duke scored on a double play to make it a 7-5 game. McCabe came up with two outs and roped a two-out RBI single up the middle to once again cut the UVa advantage to a single run, this time 7-6.
The Blue Devils had a chance to tie the game in the six, putting two aboard with one out. Duke was unable to convert on the opportunity and Virginia put the game away with five runs in the seventh. Derek Fisher began the frame with a solo shot to center, his seventh of the season, and Irving added a two-run double to help the Cavalier cause.
Virginia tacked on two final runs in the eighth as John LaPrise and Papi both drove in a run on a sacrifice fly.
Duke returns to action Tuesday, traveling to UNC Greensboro for a 6 p.m. game against the Spartans.