CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Tied 2-2 after three innings, the Duke baseball team shut out No. 24 Miami the rest of the way as the Blue Devils opened their ACC schedule with a 4-2 win over the Hurricanes Friday evening at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
Sophomore Trent Swart (2-0) scattered seven hits over six innings to earn his second win of the season. The lefty from Carlsbad, Calif., struck out six and did not allow an extra base hit in the contest.
Junior Robert Huber pitched two scoreless innings in relief, striking out five of the six batters he faced, before giving way to sophomore Andrew Istler in the ninth. Istler induced a double play ball and grounder to short to pick up his third save of the season. In total, Duke's pitching staff recorded a combined 11 strikeouts and did not issue a walk while also limiting Miami's 3-7 hitters to a 2-for-20 night.
"I thought we threw great," said head coach Chris Pollard. "Seven hits over nine innings against a team that's hitting over .300, and 11 strikeouts ... but the big statistic is no walks. That's now one walk over our last 18 innings. When we do that, we give ourselves a chance to win the ball game."
The Blue Devil offense churned out a season-high-tying 13 hits, including seven with two outs. Three Duke players recorded multiple hits in the game, led by freshman Kenny Koplove's 3-for-5 outing.
"You can't underestimate how important it was to extend those innings, even the innings we didn't score," said Pollard. "By extending the inning, we got [Chris] Diaz out of there after six and we had a good approach against him. If we do a good job of extending innings like that, we give ourselves a chance to score a lot of runs."
Miami starter Chris Diaz (1-1) took the loss for the Hurricanes, allowing four runs on a career-high 11 hits.
Duke took an aggressive approach from the start as second baseman Andy Perez singled on the first pitch of the game. Perez, who was 2-for-4 with a run scored, advanced to second on a Jeff Kremer grounder to second, bringing junior Mike Rosenfeld to the plate. Rosenfeld proceeded to double down the right field line and took third base after the Miami right fielder bobbled the ball. Rosenfeld would later score on a groundball to short to put the Blue Devils up 2-0 in the first.
Miami wasted little time responding, plating a run in the bottom of the first. Left fielder Ricky Eusebio and second baseman Alex Hernandez both singled to the right side to put runners at the corners with no outs. Perez made a great diving stop up the middle to get the first out at second, but Eusebio was able to cross the plate on the play. Swart then induced the groundout from first baseman David Thompson and got Brad Fieger looking to end the inning.
The Hurricanes would tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the third as center fielder Dale Carey beat out a high chopper to second base to start the inning. Carey then stole second before Hernandez brought him home with a single to right center.
Duke was able to retake the lead, 3-2, in the top of the fifth. Rosenfeld picked up his second hit of the day with a single up the middle to lead off the frame. Duke's starting catcher advanced to second on a grounder to third before first baseman Chris Marconcini beat out an infield single to put runners at the corners. Rosenfeld would later score on a fielder's choice to make it a 3-2 game.
The Blue Devils added an insurance run in the sixth as Koplove began a two-out rally with a single to right and Perez beat out an infield single to short to extend the inning. Kremer registered the RBI, scoring Koplove with a base hit to make it 4-2 in favor of the Blue Devils.
The two-run lead proved to be enough as Huber and Istler did not allow a Miami hit over the final three innings.
Game two of the series will take place at 7 p.m., Saturday at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.