DURHAM, N.C. - Freshman right-hander Michael Matuella threw five scoreless innings in his first career start, leading the Duke baseball team to a 8-1 victory over Penn Wednesday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field. Matuella (1-0) earned the first win of his career Wednesday as the Great Falls, Va., native allowed just four hits while striking out two.
After a 1-2-3 top of the first, the Blue Devils scored three runs in the bottom of the first and never looked back. Senior right fielder Jeff Kremer went 4-for-4 at the plate, tying a career high with four hits, while sophomore Andy Perez turned in a 2-for-4 outing, registering two RBI and a run scored as well.
"I give a ton of credit to Michael Matuella," said head coach Chris Pollard. "He had a great start, and getting a great start on the mound it allows you to relax. Michael came out and had a great top of the first and Andy Perez had a good at bat in the bottom of the first to set the tone right from the beginning. We came out with a very aggressive mindset. A lot of credit for that goes to Matuella and the start that he had. He really controlled the game in nearly every phase. He was in the zone and he was aggressive to contact and all day long."
Duke wasted little time putting runs on the board as the Blue Devils scored three in the bottom of the first for an early lead. Perez and Kremer began the frame with back-to-back singles before Perez scored from third on an errant pickoff throw to first. After a walk to third baseman Jordan Betts, two more runs would cross the plate on a Chris Marconcini double down the right field line.
The Blue Devils opened the game up in the bottom of the six, utilizing three walks and two hit batters to plate four runs. Marconcini was hit by a pitch with one out to start the rally and would later score after two walks and second hit batter. After five straight free passes, Perez sent a sac fly to center for the third run of the inning. Kremer then finished off the frame with an RBI single to right center, his fourth hit on the day.
Trailing 7-0, Penn scored its first and only run of the game after three straight singles in the top of the eighth. Sophomore Remy Janco came on to record the final two outs of the inning before giving way to classmate Andrew Istler, who pitched a scoreless ninth.
"I thought we did a good job of pitching to contact," Pollard said. "I thought [Chase] Bebout came in and had a really good outing in relief and Remy did his job against a left hander. Istler had a very good inning there to close things out."
Duke recorded its final run of the ball game in the eighth as designated hitter Mark Lumpa scored from second with two outs on a Perez infield single.
Jeff McGarry (0-2) suffered the loss for the Quakers, allowing three runs on six hits in 5.1 innings of work. Catcher Austin Bossart was a perfect 3-for-3 on the day while first baseman Spencer Branigan went 2-for-3 to lead the Quakers' offense.
The Blue Devils open the ACC slate this weekend, traveling to Coral Gables, Fla., for a three-game set against No. 24 Miami. Game one will take place Friday at 7 p.m.