BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Ellis Lowe doubled, drove in two runs and scored twice, and the Campbell bullpen threw six shutout innings to take down Duke 4-1 on Tuesday evening at Taylor Field.
Lowe accounted for all four Campbell runs and drove in the go-ahead run with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly as the Fighting Camels (12-14) squeezed four runs out of six hits. With the game tied at 1-1 after the third inning, reliever Ryan Mattes took the mound in place of starter Ryan Koopman and held Duke to three hits over the next four frames before Matt Marksberry (2-1) surrendered just one more hit over the last two innings.
Duke had a chance to tie the game in the top of the eighth inning when freshman Anthony D'Alessandro drove a two-out double – his third hit of the game – down the right field line with a Duke runner on first. Campbell right fielder Alan Denman, however, chased the ball down in the corner, fired a relay throw to Lowe, and Lowe threw a strike to home plate where catcher Ben Fish held his ground and tagged out Duke sophomore Jeff Kremer to end the inning and hold on to a 2-1 Campbell lead.
Denman, hitting in the cleanup spot, finished 2-for-4 and also drove in the first run of the game with an RBI double in the first inning. Campbell leadoff man Jimmy Brennamen set the table from the top of the order, reaching base three times while scoring twice and getting hit by his NCAA-leading 24th pitch of the season.
Blue Devil freshman Drew Van Orden (2-4) suffered the loss after giving up Lowe’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. Van Orden allowed just two hits in his 2.2 innings, and while he, Eric Pfisterer, Dennis O'Grady and Mark Lumpa combined to allow just six Campbell hits, the Fighting Camel bullpen came out on top with six strikeouts and just two walks over the final six innings.
Both teams traded runs in the first three innings with the Fighting Camels stringing together a pair of doubles in the first for a 1-0 lead. Duke struck back in the third when junior Will Piwnica-Worms laced his second triple of the year into right-center field and scored on a wild pitch on the next at bat.
Pfisterer settled in for Duke (15-12) after the first inning and held Campbell hitless over the next two frames before handing the ball over to Van Orden in the fourth. The freshman right-hander kept that streak going through the fifth, holding Campbell without a hit for four consecutive innings.
The Blue Devils, meanwhile, scratched out hits in each of the first five innings, but stranded a total of seven runners during that span to keep the game tied at 1-1. Reliever Ryan Mattes took over in the third and got out of a bases-loaded jam in his first frame before working around two Duke hits in his next two innings.
Campbell finally broke through in the sixth, however, and took the lead on a sacrifice fly ball in foul territory by Lowe. Lowe’s sac fly came immediately after Campbell leadoff man Jimmy Brenneman was hit by his NCAA-leading 24th pitch of the year to reach first base. Van Orden then picked Brenneman off of first base, but Brenneman took off for second and forced an errant throw from Duke first baseman Chris Marconcini that short-hopped the base and rolled into left field. Brenneman advanced to third on the error and scored on Lowe’s sacrifice fly deep in foul territory on the right field line.
The Blue Devils had a shot to tie the game in the top of the eighth when D’Alessandro roped a two-out double down the right field line with a runner on first, but Campbell Denman tracked the ball down, hit his cutoff man Lowe with a throw, and Lowe fired a perfect strike to the plate to gun down Duke base runner Jeff Kremer, who drew a leadoff walk and was attempting to score from first base.
That would be Duke’s final scoring opportunity as Marksberry retired the side in order in the ninth. Marksberry got a three-run cushion to protect when the Fighting Camels scored twice on an RBI single by Lowe and aggressive base running on a Duke fielding error in the eighth inning.
Duke will now have a chance to stop the red-hot Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who have won a 16 of their last 17 games heading into the weekend. The Blue Devils will host the Yellow Jackets on Friday through Sunday, April 1-3, at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Duke won the last home series against Georgia Tech two games to one in Durham, N.C., in 2009.