DURHAM, N.C. – Junior Joe Pedevillano’s 3.1 shutout innings and freshman Chris Marconcini’s two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth helped lead Duke to a 4-1 win over Charlotte on Wednesday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field.
Pedevillano (1-0), an outfielder who drove in a career-high five RBI in Tuesday’s 11-3 win over N.C. Central, made his first pitching appearance since May 14, 2009, and picked up his first win of the season. The 5-6, 160-pound southpaw gave up only one hit and struck out a career high six batters after taking the mound with the game tied at 1-1 in the sixth inning.
After junior Will Piwnica-Worms broke the tie with a seventh-inning sacrifice fly, Marconcini provided some late insurance runs with a two-run homer to opposite field in the eighth inning. The shot over the left field wall was the first career home run for the freshman outfielder and Duke’s third home run in the last four games.
Duke (15-4, 2-1 ACC) did not surrender an earned run thanks to the pitching of starter Eric Pfisterer, freshman reliever Mark Lumpa and Pedevillano. Pfisterer, in his fourth start of the season, did not allow a hit in his predetermined three innings of work against a Charlotte team that entered the game hitting .315. Lumpa took over in the fourth and scattered two hits and one unearned run over 2.2 innings before Pedevillano entered the game with the go-ahead run on second base in the sixth and shut down the 49ers for the remainder of the contest.
Along with Marconcini, fellow freshmen Anthony D’Alessandro, David Perkins and Jordan Betts combined for six of Duke’s seven hits. D’Alessandro finished 2-for-3 with two singles, and his single in the second inning extended his hitting streak to four games. Perkins was also 2-for-3 with two singles and two runs scored from the leadoff spot, while Betts was 1-for-4 with a single. Jeff Kremer recorded the only other hit for Duke on the day and finished 1-for-3 with a run scored and his ACC-leading 18th walk.
Charlotte reliever Chad Rothlin took the hard-luck loss in a pitcher’s duel that featured just five hits over the first six innings. Rothlin came in relief for starting pitcher Micah Bryan who scattered just three hits and gave up one earned run with three strikeouts, and held Duke scoreless through three of his 4.2 innings after the early run in the bottom of the first.
The Blue Devils got on the board early after scoring the first run in the bottom of the first inning after Perkins crossed the plate on a wild pitch after reaching base from a leadoff walk and moving into scoring position on a single from Betts.
Following five shutout frames from Pfisterer and Lumpa, Charlotte broke through for a run in the top of the sixth inning after Justin Wilson hit a single that scored Michael Green, who reached base on a fielding error at first base, to tie the game at 1-1. Pedevillano came in after the run with Wilson on second base as the go-ahead run and allowed just two 49ers to reach base over the rest of the game.
After giving up a run in the first inning, the 49ers held Duke scoreless until the bottom of the seventh until a sacrifice fly to left field by Piwnica-Worms scored Kremer after he reached base on a leadoff walk.
Duke added the final two runs of the game when Marconcini sent his two-run home run, the third home run of the season for the Blue Devils, over the left field wall to score Perkins after he reached on a leadoff single.
Up next, Duke will be on the road for a three-game series against ACC rival Clemson on March 18-20. The first two games of the series are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night, with the finale on Sunday scheduled for 1 p.m.