DURHAM, N.C. – Ohio’s seven pitchers combined to hold Duke to three runs, and five batters record an RBI in a 6-3 win over the Blue Devils on Tuesday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field.
The Bobcats (11-9) pitching staff held Duke (15-8, 2-4 ACC) to seven hits and stranded 12 Duke runners on base, as Brett Barber picked up his second win of the season with two innings of relief. None of Ohio’s seven pitchers worked more than two innings, and the strategy paid off as the Blue Devils failed to score more than three runs for only the third time this season.
Ohio scored its six runs on eight hits as five different players recorded an RBI. Bryan Barnes was the only batter to record multiple hits on the day as he finished 2-for-4 with an RBI. Duke starter Eric Pfisterer (1-2) held the Bobcats to five hits and three runs over a season-long 6.1 innings, but took the loss when Duke’s offense managed just two runs over the first eight innings.
The Blue Devils scored their three runs from seven hits and had a chance to tie the game with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, but closer Mark Paliotto worked out of the jam by getting leadoff batter Joe Pedevillano to line out to left field for the final out of the inning. Paliotto recorded the final four outs of the game and got a four-run cushion to work with in the ninth after the Bobcats plated three insurance runs in their last trip to the plate.
Duke sophomore Marcus Stroman broke out with three hits and a pair of RBI and started off Duke’s eighth-inning rally with a two-out double. Pinch hitter Dennis O'Grady followed with an infield single, and pinch hitter Mark Tatera followed that with a walk that loaded the bases, but Pedevillano hit a well-struck ball right at left fielder Jensen Painter to leave all three runners on base.
Stroman and freshman Anthony D'Alessandro recorded the only RBI for Duke, and both combined for five out of seven hits. Stroman’s three-hit performance is the second of his career, and his two RBI marked his fourth career multiple RBI game. Stroman also picked up a stolen base and moved his total to four for the season. D’Alessandro finished 2-for-4 with two singles, a run scored and an RBI and has now reached base safely in 21 consecutive games.
The Bobcats struck first in the top half of the third inning from a one run single by Kory Burkhart that scored Ethan Newton, who reached on a fielder’s choice and crossed the plate after a steal of second base.
Ohio plated to more runs in the top of the fourth, the first run came from a one run triple by Dan Ward that allowed Trace Voshell to cross the plate after he reached with a leadoff walk. Adam Gecewich picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Ward from third as the Bobcats took an early 3-0 lead.
The Blue Devils answered in the bottom of the fourth after being held scoreless through the first four innings. Stroman plated the first run for Duke with an RBI single that scored D’Alessandro after he started the inning off with a leadoff single, advanced to second on a groundout then reached third on wild pitch.
Duke cut into the Bobcats’ two run lead in the bottom half of the sixth to make the score 3-2. Stroman came through again for the Blue Devils with his second RBI single that scored Jordan Betts from third after Duke loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batsman.
The Bobcats picked up the final three runs of the game in the top of the ninth inning on three hits, an error, a walk and a hit batsman.
The Blue Devils’ comeback in the ninth fell short as D'Alessandro drove in Duke’s final run of the game that scored Marconcini after he reached base on a leadoff walk.
Up next, Duke will play a three game series with cross-town rival and 18th-ranked North Carolina on March 25-27, in Chapel Hill, N.C. The first pitch for game one on Friday is at 3 p.m., game two on Saturday is set for 2 p.m. and the finale on Sunday is slated for 1 p.m.