– Duke used four freshmen pitchers, including winner Robert Huber, to hold N.C.
Central to two runs in an 11-2 victory on Wednesday afternoon at Durham
Huber (1-0), the freshman right-hander, picked up his first career win by holding the Eagles to one run on four hits over his four complete innings. Huber took over for fellow freshman Dillon Haviland, who made his first career start and threw two scoreless frames.
The Blue Devils (4-1) played a total of 12 freshmen that provided eight of the team’s 11 hits and seven RBI. Chris Marconcini and Angelo LaBruna tagged two hits and drove in two RBI apiece, and sophomore designated hitter Jeff Kremer drove in two runs as well.
On the mound, the freshmen quartet of Huber, Haviland, Tito Nava and Josh Ruffin scattered nine hits and two earned runs. Nava, in his first career appearance, held N.C. Central to four hits and a run over 2.2 innings while Ruffin got the final out of the game with a strikeout.
The Blue Devils scored a season-high 11 runs on 11 hits, including one hit from sophomore Ryan Munger, who extended his team-high hitting streak to 12 games. Eight Blue Devils recorded a hit, and seven drove in a run.
Duke also stole three bases on the day, including a first-and-third double steal by Will Piwnica-Worms and Dennis O’Grady in the first inning that provided the second run of the game. The Blue Devils have swiped 18 bases in 22 attempts on the year with Piwnica-Worms leading the way at a perfect 4-for-4.
Duke jumped out early on N.C. Central, scoring three runs in the first two innings, and then broke through in the third with seven runs on six hits.
Freshman Matt Berezo got Duke started in the third with an RBI single that scored classmate Jordan Betts from second. Freshman Anthony D’Alessandro then put another run on the board when he picked up an RBI single that scored O’Grady.
The bats continued to work in the bottom half of the third after LaBruna picked up a two-RBI single that would score D’Alessandro and Berezo. Marconcini drove an RBI triple off the center field wall and Betts, in his second at bat of the inning, picked up an RBI double to put the Blue Devils on top 10-1.
The seven-run third inning knocked N.C. Central starter Douglas Dalley (0-1) out of the game, but Eagles relievers Brandon Oatis and Jasper Jones would shut down Duke for the remainder of the game. Oatis retired 10 out of next 14 batters he faced, scattering three hits and giving up only one unearned run on six strikeouts with no walks. Jones pitched two innings and faced seven batters only giving up one hit and no runs.
Duke would score its only other run in the seventh inning when Marconcini drove a two-out single through the right side to score LaBruna and increase Duke’s lead to 11-1. N.C. Central took that run back on a wild pitch in the seventh, but would get no closer to trimming the deficit as Nava and Ruffin closed out the game.
Up next for Duke is a three-game series against Villanova at Jack Coombs Field on February 25-27. Game one of the series starts at 4 p.m. on Friday.