DURHAM, N.C. – After Duke scored four first-inning run, junior Ryan Day turned in his second quality start of the week to lead the Blue Devils to a 9-2 victory over Boston College in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field.
Day (3-2) pitched seven one-hit innings this past Monday at Miami and followed that performance with six quality frames today against the Eagles. After shutting out Boston College (12-21, 3-15 ACC) for six innings, the Eagles were able to break through for two runs in the seventh. Overall, Day scattered five singles in six innings and yielded two runs in the win.
“You have to combine his outing on Monday night, that’s 13.0 innings,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “[Ryan has] thrown the ball really great. That’s several good starts in a row he’s given us. Ever since he missed the start at UVA, he gets better every time out. He’s really competing.”
The offense did its part in support of Day, scoring four first-inning runs then adding two in the third and three more in the six. Seven of Duke’s starting nine registered at least one hit and six scored at least one run.
Sophomore Griffin Conine reached base in all five of his plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with two walks, two runs and an RBI. In five games this past week, Conine hit .421 with 10 RBI, five runs, three home runs, four walks and two stolen bases.
We again did a good job of taking advantage of free offense,” Pollard said. “We used the HBP, we used the walk. We had a lot of loud contact. Kennie Taylor had really good at bats. I sound like a broken record, but Griffin Conine had good at bats again. I thought it was a really well rounded effort where we got some production up and down our lineup.”
Similar to Saturday’s contest, the Blue Devils put crooked numbers on the board in the bottom of the first. Taylor smacked a bases-clearing two-out double into the right center gap and Max Miller added an RBI single to put Duke up 4-0 early.
Duke (19-19, 7-11 ACC) extended the margin, 6-0, in the third. Junior Michael Smiciklas singled, Taylor walked and Miller was hit by a pitch to start the frame. Smiciklas came home on an Erikson Nichols sacrifice fly and Taylor crossed the plate on a balk call.
Boston College did not challenge Duke’s lead until the fifth when the Eagles loaded the bases with one out. Day was up to the task, striking out Michael Strem before inducing a Gian Martellini grounder to nullify the threat.
Conine added a sixth-inning RBI single before Jack Labosky smoked a two-run double to right center, brining Duke’s lead to 9-0.
Day faced the minimum in the sixth, but a single and hit batter to start the seventh brought his outing to a close. Jake Palomaki and Strem would each notch an RBI grounder against freshman reliever Matt Mervis, but the rookie got a fly ball to conclude the frame with a 9-2 advantage.
Labosky took the mound to start the eighth and retired all six batters he faced to close out the contest.
“Jack was as good as he’s been all year,” Pollard said. “Can’t say enough about the inning by Matt Mervis to come in and pitch to contact. Threw three pitches for strikes. He’s continuing to grow into a big part of our staff.”
Boston College starter Brian Rapp (0-2) suffered the loss. He allowed six runs on six hits over four innings.
Duke and North Carolina Central meet in the second game of this season’s home-and-home series Wednesday, April 19 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m., on ACC Network Extra.