DURHAM, N.C. – Led by a pair of four-RBI days from freshman Jake Lemmerman and sophomore Gabriel Saade, the Duke baseball team completed a four-game sweep over Columbia Sunday afternoon, winning by 4-1 in game one and 19-5 in game two in a doubleheader at Jack Coombs Field.
Duke (10-0) drove a combined 52 hits over the four-game series, including 10 in Sunday’s opener and 20 in the 19-5 series finale. The Blue Devils batted .356 for the series with 16 extra base hits, while the pitching staff held Columbia (0-4) to just 10 runs, including a pair of one-run performances in each doubleheader opener.
Saade went 4-for-8 over Sunday’s games with all four of his hits going for extra bases. The sophomore leadoff man mashed three doubles and a home run and now owns the team lead with 10 extra base knocks. He contributed two hits, two RBI and at least one run in each game on Sunday while going errorless in 11 opportunities at second base.
Lemmerman broke out in the second game, posting his first career four-RBI performance. The freshman shortstop went 2-for-5 with a pair of two-RBI doubles and raised his batting average to .308 with a 5-for-15 performance in the four-game series. With a hit in game one as well, Lemmerman is currently on a seven-game hitting streak.
Sophomore outfielder Alex Hassan has also been on a tear to start the season and has now had a hit in each of Duke’s first 10 games. Hassan concluded the series with a 4-for-6 outing in game two for his sixth multi-hit game of the season. After the four-game series, the Boston, Mass., native leads Duke in batting average (.475), hits (19), runs scored (17), on base percentage (.551) and stolen bases (6).
Junior Nate Freiman also had a tremendous series, wrapping up with a 3-for-4, three-run, two-RBI performance in Sunday’s finale. The 6-8, 240 pound first baseman knocked two doubles on Sunday and boasts a team-high 14 RBI and three home runs on the season.
Columbia had trouble getting junior Matt Williams out as well, as Duke’s starting catcher went 7-for-14 on the series with a team-high .563 on base percentage. Sophomore Jeremy Gould went 6-for-14 with six RBI, while Ryan McCurdy also raised his batting average with a 5-for-10 performance in the series.
Duke received quality innings from a number of pitchers, including starter Grant Monroe (2-0), who picked up his second career win in as many starts. Monroe took the mound to start Sunday’s opener and gave up just one run on six hits over five innings. Ryan Perry and Alex Hassan took over for the final four innings and did not allow a single hit.
Freshman Dennis O'Grady also chalked up his second win of the season after coming in in relief in game two. The 5-10, 175 right hander went 1.2 scoreless innings and has yet to give up a run in 9.2 innings of work.
Game One: Saade Generates three Runs in 4-1 Win Over
Saade gave Duke a 1-0 lead with his solo home run and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth on an RBI single from Williams that broke open a 1-1 tie.
Both Matt Williams and Jeremy Gould collected a pair of hits for Duke, while Williams also added his fifth RBI of the season. With the multi-hit outing, Williams has added at least two hits in five of his eight games played. Jake Lemmerman also singled for Duke to extend his hitting streak to six games.
Catcher Dean Forthun drove in
Saade gave Duke a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third with a two-out solo home run. The bomb to left field came on the first pitch he saw and was the second of the season for the sophomore leadoff man. The solo shot also marked the sixth time this season that Duke has scored first in a ballgame.
Williams contributed an RBI single in the bottom of the second while Duke executed a double steal in the same inning to go ahead 3-1. Both runs came with two outs after
Duke handed the ball to Perry to start the sixth inning, and the right hander contributed three hitless innings to maintain Duke’s lead through the bottom of the eighth. Through his first two appearances on the season, Perry has yet to allow a hit through five innings of work.
Clay Bartlett took over pitching duties for
With a 4-1 lead to protect, Hassan moved to the mound from center field at the start of the ninth and shut down
Game 2: Lemmerman Drives In Four And Scores Twice In 19-5 Rout Of Columbia
Jake Lemmerman drove in four runs with two doubles and scored twice to lead six Blue Devils with multiple RBI. Jeremy Gould drove in three runs with a pair of hits, while Nate Freiman, Gabriel Saade, Grant Monroe and Christopher Manno all drove in two runs as well. Ryan McCurdy also contributed an RBI in a 2-for-4 outing while crossing the plate twice, while Alex Hassan scored three times in a 4-for-6 effort.
Dennis O'Grady (2-0) picked up the win after coming in as a reliever in the fifth and getting out of a tight jam without allowing a run. Ryan Knott and John Bunder took over for O’Grady to close out the game, with Bunder contributing a perfect two-strikeout inning to end the game. O’Grady has yet to allow a run over his first 9.2 innings of work, while holding opposing hitters to a .161 average.
A pair of outstanding defensive plays highlighted the first inning of game two, as Hassan and McCurdy both made diving stabs in the opening frame to save a run. Hassan returned to center field after picking up the save in game one and made a tremendous catch on a softly hit fly ball to shallow center. Following Hassan’s catch, McCurdy fully laid out to make a diving stop on a ground ball that would have been an RBI single through the infield. McCurdy’s stop ended the inning and diffused a two-out double by Columbia first baseman Ron Williams.
The Blue Devils opened the bottom of the first with three runs, all of which were generated by Freiman. Williams started the rally with a walk and moved to second on a line drive single to center field by Hassan. Freiman then came to the plate with one out and drilled a 1-0 fastball off the left-center field fence to clear the bases. With Freiman standing on second after the two-RBI double, Gould drove a ground ball through the right side for a single. Freiman took off for third on the hit and was waived home by head coach Sean McNally. With a full head of steam, Freiman sprinted to the plate and slid feet first just in time to beat the throw from the outfield.
Mike Roberts put the Lions on the board in the fourth after scoring from third on a passed ball. Roberts started the inning with a single to left field and moved up two bases on a base hit from Perkins and a fielder’s choice ground ball by Noah Cooper.
Duke got the run back and scored another in the bottom half of the fourth on back-to-back hits with two outs on the board to go ahead 5-1. The inning started on and was extended through a dropped fly ball by center fielder Noah Cox, which allowed Gould to reach second to lead off the inning. Lions pitcher Geoff Whitaker then forced a fly out and picked up a strikeout for the second out, but gave up the consecutive hits to McCurdy and Saade before ending the inning with another strikeout. A single up the middle from McCurdy drove in Gould from second base for the first run, while an ensuing double from Saade sent McCurdy across the plate from first base.
An RBI single from Ron Williams and another passed ball led to two Columbia runs that cut the deficit to 5-3 in the top of the fifth. Cox got the inning started with a single through the left side and reached second with a stolen base. A failed pickoff attempt moved Cox to third where Williams drove him in with a base hit to left field. Williams’ single also moved Banos to second after he drew a walk prior to the RBI single. With runners on first and second, Foreman’s pitch to pinch hitter Mike Malfettone bounced just off the glove of catcher Kyle Kreick and rolled to the backstop. The passed ball gave Banos just enough time to score from second while Williams moved to third. After issuing a walk to Malfettone to put runners at the corners, Foreman was relieved in favor of Dennis O'Grady, who got out of the one-out jam by striking out Roberts and rolling an inning-ending ground ball to Lemmerman up the middle.
O’Grady returned to the mound to start the sixth and maintained the 10-3 Duke lead with the help of Kreick behind the plate. After retiring the first batter, O’Grady gave up consecutive base hits to Forthun and Ferrera and a fly ball to right field that moved Forthun to third. With two outs on the board after the fly ball, Ferrera opted to steal second base, but Kreick threw a bullet to Saade at second base to gun down the runner and end the inning.
For the second time in game two, Gould ripped a base hit through the left side to send Freiman sliding across the plate from second base. Freiman reached second base with a double off the top of the fence in the left field power alley for his third hit and second double of the game. He then scored from second on Gould’s grounder through the left side, sliding into the plate in the same fashion as his first run of the ballgame.
Duke cleared the bench in the seventh, sending four pinch hitters to the plate in a seven-run seventh inning. All four subs had a hit and at least one RBI, while Duke batted around to send 13 hitters to the plate. Eight different batters scored, including all four that came off the bench. In his first career at bat, freshman Grant Monroe drove in two runs with a line drive single to right field. The opposite field single drove in Saade and Hassan after a double off the center field fence from Hassan moved both runners into scoring position. Kreick then singled up the middle while Gould drew a walk to load the bases. Christopher Manno then came in to pinch hit and sent a single to right field that drove in two RBI, while Lemmerman followed with his second double of the game to drive in two more runs. Ben Condon then stepped to the plate and mashed the first pitch he saw off the left field fence to send in another run. Following an RBI single from Jonathan Nicolla, Hassan drove in the final run with his second two-bagger of the inning.
With a 19-5 lead in hand, Bunder took the mound for Duke in his second pitching appearance of the season. The freshman right hander mowed down the first two hitters and forced the last to ground out to end the ball game.
Whitaker (0-1) took the loss for Columbia. The Blue Devils scored 10 runs on nine hits off the Lions starter, eight of which were earned.
Duke will continue its homestand this week with a nine-inning matchup against Valparaiso on Wednesday, March 5 at 3 p.m. The Blue Devils will then begin their ACC slate, as No. 2 North Carolina visits Jack Coombs Field for a three-game series on March 7-9, beginning with a 3 p.m. contest on Friday.