DURHAM, N.C. – Twice the Duke baseball team rallied from a deficit of three or more runs, but the Blue Devils were ultimately unable to overcome an early 4-0 disadvantage, falling to Binghamton, 7-6, in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field.
Duke (2-1) received two hits each from Grant McCabe, Kenny Koplove and Mark Lumpa, but the Blue Devils could not capitalize on their opportunities, stranding 12 runners in the contest. After trailing 4-0 through six, Duke rallied late to cut the Binghamton (1-2) lead to one run in the seventh and again in the eighth before coming up just short in the end.
“I’d be lying if I said we weren’t disappointed,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “I tip my hat to Binghamton. I thought that after coming out and dropping two yesterday, they came out and their kids played hard and played really well. They deserved to win the ball game. There were moments where we did some really good things. We fought our way back in the game twice and gave ourselves a chance and just came up a little bit short.”
Binghamton added solo runs in the first and fourth innings before putting a pair on a board in the fifth to stake a 4-0 advantage. Bearcat starter Jake Cryts (1-0) kept the Blue Devil hitters off balance early, permitting just two hits over 5.0 innings of work to pick up the win.
Down four runs, the Duke bats came alive in the final three frames, totaling eight of the Blue Devils’ 10 hits during that span. Senior Matt Berezo walked to start a seventh-inning rally and scored Duke’s first run of the game on a Mike Rosenfeld base hit. Junior Andy Perez drew a bases loaded walk to plate Duke’s second run of the game, and Chris Marconcini followed with an RBI single to left. Binghamton’s defense stepped up as Jalen Phillips was thrown out trying to score from second before ended the Blue Devil threat.
With the lead down to 4-3, the Bearcats answered with three runs on three hits in the top of the eighth. A Zach Blanden single with two outs plated a pair, and Bill Bereszniewicz drove in Binghamton’s final run with an RBI single that ricocheted off the mound.
Undeterred, Duke added three more runs in the eighth to once again trim the lead to a single run. A leadoff walk again spurred the rally before Koplove laced an RBI single through the right side. Rosenfeld added a sacrifice fly and Perez dropped an RBI single in between the left fielder and shortstop to make it a 7-6 game. Duke would come no closer, however, as Binghamton reliever Mike Bunal retired the next two batters and worked a scoreless ninth to earn the save.
Sophomore James Marvel (0-1) suffered the loss, yielding four runs on eight hits over 4.2 innings of work.
Duke returns to action Tuesday, Feb. 18, traveling to UNC Greensboro for a 4 p.m. game against the Spartans.