DURHAM, N.C. – Miami left-hander Chris Diaz limited the Blue Devils to one run over eight innings to lead the Hurricanes past the Duke baseball team, 6-1, Friday evening at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Diaz (9-0) surrendered just two hits and three walks, facing the minimum in six frames. Both Duke (30-19, 15-10 ACC) hits off of Diaz, a David Perkins triple and a Ryan Deitrich single, came in the fifth as the junior did not allow a runner into scoring position the rest of the way.
“You just tip your hat to him,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “[Diaz] was as good as advertised. By all scouting reports we had, we knew he had made a jump from last year to this year in terms of performance. He was really in control out there on the mound tonight. Moved it to both sides of the plate. Pitched off his cutter. I thought he threw his change-up a little more than we anticipated him to. He’s a very elite arm and he pitched a heckuva ballgame tonight.
Zack Collins provided the bulk of the offense for the Hurricanes as the first baseman went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Miami totaled seven hits against Duke starter Drew Van Orden (5-4), who worked 6.2 innings and struck out seven.
The first four Hurricane batters reached base in the top of the first, helping Miami (26-14, 20-5 ACC) to the early 3-0 advantage. Dale Carey bounced an infield single and Tyler Palmer was struck by a pitch, setting the tables for the middle of the order. Collins sent an RBI double to the gap in right center for the game’s opening run, and Willie Abreau followed with an RBI single off the left field wall. Collins crossed home on a double play ball before Van Orden got Johnny Ruiz looking to end the frame.
With the 3-0 lead in hand, Diaz retired 11 of the first 13 batters he faced to keep the Blue Devils off the scoreboard.
The shutout held until the bottom of the fifth when Perkins sent his first triple of the season off the Blue Monster in left field. Perkins would later scamper home on a passed ball to trim the deficit to 3-1.
Collins belted the first pitch of the sixth inning into the right center stands for his eighth home run of the season to regain Miami’s three-run advantage at 4-1.
The Hurricanes tacked on two more insurance runs in the seventh, providing an ample margin for Diaz and closer Cooper Hammond. After Miami loaded the bases on two walks and a single, the Hurricanes plated their fifth run on a double play ball. Collins then picked up his third RBI with a two-out base hit.
Duke and Miami square off in game two of the series Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Duke left-hander Trent Swart (4-1, 0.90 ERA) takes the mound for the Blue Devils opposite Miami southpaw Andrew Suarez (4-2, 2.64 ERA).