DURHAM, N.C. – Drew Van Orden shut out NC State for eight innings and struck out 11 to lead the Duke baseball team to a 2-0 win Friday evening at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Van Orden (3-3) surrendered just three hits and one walk and faced no more than four batters in any inning. He retired the final 10 batters he faced before senior closer Robert Huber wrapped up a scoreless ninth to preserve the win and his sixth save of the season.
“We talked again this week that this is one of the reasons [Van Orden] passed up pro ball and came back,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “To get a chance to come back and go head-to-head with arguably the best pitcher in college baseball, and go toe-to-toe with him. He wanted that opportunity and that’s why he decided to come back. And I’m proud of him. I’m proud not only that he came back, but that he’s taken advantage of the opportunity.”
The win improved Duke’s home win streak to 10 games, including seven straight ACC victories. The Blue Devils (19-16, 8-8 ACC) are now 4-0 in Friday home games, including league wins over No. 19 North Carolina and Notre Dame.
David Perkins and Jordan Betts provided the offense for Duke with Perkins putting Duke on the board with a solo home run in the second inning and Betts adding an RBI single in the third. Duke totaled six hits against NC State starter Carlos Rodon (2-6), who worked 7.2 innings and struck out 12.
Perkins gave Duke the lead in the bottom of the second, blasting his first home run of the season to straightaway center field. The long ball was only the second allowed by NC State starter Carlos Rodon this season and provided Van Orden all the run support he would need.
NC State had a chance to tie the game in the top of the third, but Duke left fielder Ryan Deitrich cut down the potential run at the plate for his team-leading fourth outfield assist of the season. Deitrich misplayed a fly ball on the warning track that allowed Nathan Hood to reach second base, but he made up for the error two batters later when he gunned down Hood at the plate to spoil the Wolfpack's potential sacrifice fly opportunity.
Betts padded Duke’s lead with a one-out RBI single in the bottom of the third for his 14th RBI of the season. The tweener through the right side scored Mike Rosenfeld, who led off the inning with a single and a two-base error that moved him to third base. The leadoff knock was one of two hits in the game for Rosenfeld.
With a 2-0 lead in hand, Van Orden retired 15 of the next 17 batters he saw to keep the shutout intact heading into the ninth. The 6-3 righthander surrendered just one hit over his final five frames and wrapped up the fourth and fifth innings with back-to-back strikeouts.
Rodon settled down after the third, holding Duke scoreless for the rest of his outing. The All-ACC first team selection did not allow a hit over his final 3.2 innings, but Van Orden was able to match him pitch for pitch to maintain the shutout.
Huber entered the game to start the ninth and rebounded from a hit batter that started the inning to retire the next three hitters. His strikeout of NC State cleanup hitter Preston Palmeiro gave him 26 punchouts in 24.0 innings this season, while the scoreless ninth inning dropped his ERA to 1.17.
Duke and NC State will square off in game two of the series Saturday at 1 p.m. at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Duke southpaw Trent Swart (2-1, 1.29 ERA) will take the mound for the Blue Devils opposite NC State lefthander Ryan Williamson (1-0, 0.96 ERA).