DURHAM, N.C. – Boston College pitchers Jacob Stevens and Donovan Casey combined to one-hit Duke Friday evening at the Jack Coombs, leading the Eagles to a 3-1 victory.
Stevens (3-4) threw seven innings of one-hit baseball before Casey assumed the mound and retired all six Blue Devils he faced. Duke (18-18, 6-10 ACC) struck out just four times, but lofted 14 fly balls versus the Eagle duo.
“Some of them were fly balls,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “Some of them were pretty good swings. Loud contact. Some of that is because Stevens threw the ball well. He’s got a good spin rate fastball. We just didn’t get on time with the pitch enough. Same thing with Casey at the end.”
Junior Max Miller accounted for the lone Blue Devil hit, bouncing a third-inning leadoff double down the left field line.
Junior Mitch Stallings (3-3) pitched well in the loss, covering a career-high eight innings for his fourth quality start of the 2017 campaign. Stallings yielded three runs (two earned) on six hits. He fanned eight and did not walk a batter. Following Friday’s performance, the Atlanta native has gone at least seven frames in four consecutive Friday night starts.
“I thought it was an extremely well-pitched ballgame on both sides,” Pollard added. “Stevens threw really well and Mitch threw the ball well.”
Stallings retired all nine Eagles he faced the first three innings to allow Duke to grab an early 1-0 lead. Miller’s double sprang over the outstretched glove of BC third baseman Brian Dempsey to begin the bottom of the third. A Justin Bellinger bunt advanced the runner and a Chris Proctor sacrifice fly knocked in the run.
Four Blue Devils would reach over the final six frames, three via walk and one hit by pitch, but Duke was unable to find the gaps in the Eagle defense. With two on in the fourth, junior Michael Smiciklas roped a ball to the right side but second baseman Jake Palomaki was in perfect position to turn the double play.
“It was a baseball game,” Pollard said. “We put a few good swings on. We didn’t have anything to show for it. We had some bad luck. We got some runners on and we hit some balls hard right at people. The double play ball was tough because that ball was hit right on the button.”
Boston College then answered to start the fourth. Casey and Palomaki singled with nobody out to begin a two-run rally. After a Duke throwing error, Michael Strem registered an RBI groundout to third, tying the game 1-1. A Mitch Bigras two-out double then plated the go-ahead run.
The Eagles added an insurance run in the fifth, benefitting from a Duke miscue. Johnny Adams singled and took second on a wild pitch prior to a Jacob Yish fly ball to deep left center. Duke’s Kennie Taylor made the running catch, but shortstop Zack Kone could not corral the relay throw. Adams proceeded to cross home after tagging on the fly ball, giving BC a 3-1 advantage it would not relinquish the rest of the way.
Duke and Boston College resume the series at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 15 at Jack Coombs Field. Blue Devil left-hander James Ziemba takes the mound opposite Eagle lefty Dan Metzdord on ACC Network Extra.