CLEMSON, S.C. – The Blue Devils totaled a season-high 15 hits, including six in an eight-run fourth, as the Duke baseball team downed Clemson 13-1 in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Duke (12-12, 3-6 ACC) led Clemson 3-0 heading to the fourth before plating a season-high eight runs in the inning. Sophomore Andy Perez was 2-for-2 with a double and three RBI in the frame, while junior Jordan Betts roped a two-out, two-run double down the left field line. In total, Duke sent 13 batters to the plate in the fourth, registering six hits and a pair of walks.
“We just strung really good at bats together back-to-back-back,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “It was a great learning moment for our guys because now they see we’re capable of doing that. We haven’t been great at putting crooked numbers up on the board and we put up two big innings today in the second game. To come back from really playing poorly in a lot of areas in the first game and being in an 0-2 hole in the series, to win the ball game the way we did in all three phases showed a lot of grit.”
Perez turned in a standout performance at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a career-high five RBI. Sophomore Grant McCabe registered a career-high three hits, while junior Matt Berezo went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. In addition, freshman Kenny Koplove was 2-for-2, adding two RBI and two runs scored.
After scoring two runs in the top of the first in game one, the Blue Devils again jumped out to an early lead in the second game of today’s doubleheader. Back-to-back base hits from Berezo and junior Mark Lumpa put two aboard and a Koplove two-out, RBI single scored the first run of the game. Perez then stepped to the plate and lined a two-run triple to right field to make it 3-0 in favor of the Blue Devils.
Down just three runs, Clemson (15-8, 5-4 ACC) threatened in the second recording two base hits and a pair of walks, but Duke’s defense was able to keep the Tigers scoreless. Catcher Reed Anthes threw out Shane Kennedy attempting to swipe second and right fielder Jeff Kremer gunned down Jon McGibbon at the plate after a Jay Baum single. Duke starter Robert Huber then got Tyler Krieger to fly out to center to escape the frame unscathed.
“I thought that was huge,” said Pollard. “[Clemson] could’ve very easily put three on the board against us that inning. To put a zero on the board that inning was huge for our team’s psyche and we had to make some really outstanding plays to do it. From there, we really took advantage.”
Both teams scored a single run in the sixth and Duke added another in the eighth to bring the final score to 13-1.
Huber (3-2) picked up his third win of the season, giving up just one run on five hits in six innings of work. Freshman Michael Matuella and sophomore Andrew Istler combined to throw three hitless innings in relief for the Blue Devils.
Clemson starter Scott Firth (2-4) allowed six runs on eight hits in 3.1 innings in the loss.
Duke hits the road for a pair of non-conference midweek matchups this coming week. The Blue Devils face Campbell in Buies Creek, N.C., Tuesday at 6 p.m., before traveling to Greensboro for a 6 p.m., game against North Carolina A&T. Duke will return to ACC action over the weekend, playing host to Boston College at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.