DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke baseball team matched a season high with 17 hits as the Blue Devils won their fourth straight game in convincing fashion, downing MEAC foe Maryland Eastern Shore, 15-7, Tuesday evening at Jack Coombs Field.
Senior Mark Lumpa matched a career high with four hits, reaching base in all five plate appearances. The Blue Devil center fielder totaled a career-best four runs and also knocked in two RBI.
Lumpa was one of six Duke (13-8, 4-2 ACC) players with two or more hits on the night as the Blue Devils put multiple runs on the board in the first, fourth, fifth and seventh innings. Redshirt junior Chris Marconcini went 3-for-5, including a towering two-run shot in the fifth. The Brentwood, Tenn., native also amassed a career-high-tying four RBI and scored three runs.
“Tough day to play, but I thought our two-strike hitting was the difference,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “Guys got in two-strike counts and did a really good job with their two-strike hitting approach. It was great to see. Lumpa had some really great two-strike at bats. Marconcini made a really good adjustment in the ballgame. Betts had a couple big two-out RBI with doubles. A lot of guys doing some really positive things.”
UMES (3-11, 1-2 MEAC) struck first with a lone run off Duke starter Karl Blum in the top of the first, but the lead proved to be short-lived. Duke plated a pair in the bottom of the frame, claiming a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the way. Betts and Berezo came up with key two-out RBI hits to bolster the Blue Devil offense.
Duke’s lead extended to 3-1 in the third on Betts’ second RBI double of the day. One of the NCAA active leaders in career doubles, Betts is now in sole possession of third on the school record list with 59 doubles during his time in Durham.
The Hawks continued to put pressure on the Blue Devils, sending a run around in the fourth to cut the deficit to 3-2. Duke responded with authority, scoring six runs on five hits in the fourth to break the game open. Senior Mike Rosenfeld and freshman Cris Perez both contributed two-run singles in the frame.
Three UMES runners crossed home plate to once again cut into the Duke lead as Dattilo and Turlik had back-to-back RBI doubles. Once again, Duke had an answer, matching the Hawks rally with three runs on a Lumpa RBI base hit and Marconcini two-run shot. The Marconcini home run, a towering shot over the scoreboard in right field, was his sixth of the season and 18th of his career.
“[UMES] had a really good offensive approach, too,” Pollard said. “They continued to put runs on the board, and it was still anyone’s ballgame up through the eighth inning. I felt like we needed to continue to be opportunistic as far as building on the lead.”
The Hawks put up single runs in the sixth and eighth, while Duke plated three in the bottom of the seventh to secure the victory.
Freshman Kevin Lewallyn (1-0) picked up his first career victory after pitching a perfect seventh. UMES starter Will Turley (0-2) suffered the loss, yielding six runs, five earned, on seven hits over three innings of work.
Next up, Duke wraps up its 11-game homestand against Princeton Wednesday, March 19 at 6 p.m., before hitting the road for a three-game series at Pitt Friday, Saturday and Sunday.