DURHAM, N.C. – Sophomore Jeff Kremer’s first career home run and freshman Chris Marconcini’s two triples helped lead Duke to an 8-3 win over N.C. State on Saturday afternoon at Durham Bulls Athletic Park to even the series at one game apiece.
Kremer, the 5-11, 200-pound catcher, finished the day 2-for-4 with a double and his first career home run, which was also the first of the season for the Blue Devils (12-4, 1-1 ACC) who rank third in the ACC with 51 extra-base hits.
Marconcini finished 2-for-5 with two triples, two RBI and a run scored. Marconcini’s two triples pushed his total to an ACC-leading six on the year, and his two RBI moved his team-leading RBI total to 18.
Duke starting pitcher Dennis O’Grady (4-0) scattered seven hits and gave up just three earned runs through his five complete innings before turning over the reigns to freshman Drew Van Orden in the sixth inning.
Van Orden, the 6-3 190-pound right-hander, pitched four shutout innings of relief to pick up his second save of the season, with a career-high four strikeouts and one walk. Van Orden retired 12 out of 13 batters he faced, and retired the first 11 batters he saw until giving up the lone walk with two outs in the top of the ninth.
Jordan Betts, Duke’s freshman third baseman, finished the day 1-for-4 as his RBI single in the bottom of the third inning extended his hitting streak to an ACC-leading 13 games. Betts has also reached base safely in every game this season.
Duke scored its eight runs on 13 hits with all nine starters recording a hit. Seven of those had an RBI, and Marconcini recorded his team-leading sixth multi-RBI game. Junior Will Piwnica-Worms also notched his ACC-leading 10th stolen base of the year as part of a 1-for-3 performance that included an RBI sacrifice fly and a run.
N.C. State jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after back-to-back doubles to start the game. John Gianis led the top of the first inning off with a double and scored the first run after the second double from two-hitter Andrew Ciencin. The Wolfpack added the final run of the inning on an RBI groundout that scored Ciencin, who reached third base on a wild pitch strikeout by O’Grady.
Duke evened the score in the third inning after Marconcini drilled his fifth triple of the season to opposite field off the left-center field wall. Betts then drove him in with a single that extended his hitting streak. Piwnica-Worms recorded the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly that allowed Betts to score from third.
The Blue Devils added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning when Marcus Stroman hit an RBI double that scored Joe Pedevillano, who reached base on a leadoff walk. Freshman designated hitter David Perkins added the second run with a single that scored Stroman from third.
In the fifth inning, the Wolfpack picked up one run in the top half of the inning after O’Grady walked three batters, with the third free pass resulting in a run. The bases-loaded walk trimmed Duke’s lead to 4-3, but would be the last run N.C. State scored.
Duke once again got on the board in the bottom half of the fifth after Kremer led the inning off with a home run, the first of his career and the first of the season for the Blue Devils. Following the homer by Kremer, Piwnica-Worms notched a single and was moved to second from a sacrifice bunt by Anthony D’Alessandro. Piwnica-Worms then advanced to third on a wild pitch, and crossed the plate for a run off a double by Angelo LaBruna.
The Blue Devils picked up their final two runs of the game when Marconcini hit his two-run triple to straightaway center field in the bottom of the eighth. The triple followed a double by Perkins and was the seventh extra-base knock of the game by Duke.
Duke and N.C. State will close out the three game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.