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Duke Squeezes In Winning Run In 2-1 Win Over Davidson
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 05/06/2008
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Sophomore outfielder Jeremy Gould went 3-for-4 in Tuesday's game against Davidson and scored the winning run after starting off the 10th inning with his third single of the game.
Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
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DURHAM, N.C.Michael Ghizzoni squeezed in Jeremy Gould with a bunt single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Duke a 2-1 win over Davidson Tuesday evening at Jack Coombs Field.

The game was deadlocked at a 1-1 tie from the second through top of the 10th inning before Gould opened the bottom half of the extra frame with his third single of the ball game. He was given a free pass to third on a failed pickoff attempt and a wild pitch from Davidson pitcher Chris Kennedy (0-7) before taking off for the plate on a 1-0 count to Ghizzoni, who came through by laying down the walk-off squeeze bunt.

The extra-inning win went to Duke reliever Alex Hassan (4-0), who moved to the mound from center field in a ninth-inning switch that also brought Ghizzoni into the game from the bench. Hassan tossed two hitless frames to follow a streak of 18 straight batters retired by senior Ryan Perry and freshman starter Grant Monroe. Monroe gave up a leadoff homer to Davidson’s Hugh Eden, but settled down to allow just two more hits over his five complete innings of work. Perry followed in the sixth and opened a streak of three perfect relief innings, sitting down all nine batters he faced while striking out four.

Duke (34-14-1, 8-14-1) quickly overcame the 1-0 deficit brought on by Eden’s leadoff home run with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the second by freshman shortstop Jake Lemmerman. The base knock was one of two in the game for Lemmerman, who joined Hassan, Gould, Nate Freiman and senior Jonathan Nicolla with multiple hits in the game.

While Monroe, Perry and Hassan stifled the Wildcat (10-33) offense, Davidson’s hurlers did just the same to the Blue Devils. Starter John Edwards was responsible for the run in the second inning, but contributed an otherwise unblemished five innings of work. Reliever Bobby DeMuro followed Edwards and did just as well, scattering a pair of hits over two scoreless innings. Kennedy, meanwhile, was effective in his first inning of work, but could do nothing to stop Ghizzoni’s perfectly-placed squeeze bunt in the 10th inning.

Davidson’s bats got started early and gave Edwards a 1-0 lead before he stepped foot on the mound. The run came on a leadoff homer by Eden, who fell behind 1-2 in the count before fouling off four of the next five pitches. After battling to even the count at 2-2, Eden sent the ninth pitch he saw over the left field fence for his sixth home run of the season.

Monroe settled down after the long ball though, and retired three of the next four batters in the first and three more in the second before his offense tied the game at 1-1. Lemmerman knotted the score with a two-out single in the bottom of the second to drive in Nicolla, who roped his 11th double of the season to the warning track in center field.

Davidson responded by putting a runner on third with one out in the top of the third, but Duke’s defense bailed them out of the jam with the tie intact. Eden reached base for the second time in as many at bats after taking a 3-1 walk before stealing second and advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. Three-hitter Zach Kayne ripped a line drive to the right side, but Saade was there and reacted just fast enough to catch the ball on his glove side for the second out of the inning. Cleanup hitter Matt Webb then fought off a fastball on the inside corner and sent it to the gap in left center, but Gould got on his horse and ran the fly ball down to end the threat.

The Blue Devils followed suit by putting their leadoff man on third base with one out in the bottom of the fourth, but came away empty-handed as well. After giving up a leadoff bunt single to Gould, Edwards forced a flyout but put himself into a jam after committing consecutive balks to send Gould to third. He buckled down just in time though, inducing a groundout to third base from Nicolla before forcing McCurdy to flyout to left to end the inning.

Monroe responded by retiring the side in order in the fifth, giving him nine straight outs from the third inning. After using just 11 pitches in the fifth, Monroe handed the ball over in the fifth to Perry, who continued the retired batter streak by sitting down three more in the sixth. Even more impressive than a five-pitch strikeout to his first batter was the play Perry made on a ground ball to the right side hit by Kayne. Perry tried to pick up Kayne’s slow roller to his left, but wasn’t quick enough to get to it. Once the ball got past him, Perry kept running to first base and got his foot on the bag just in time to field the throw from Freiman, who was there to pick up the grounder when it got past Perry.

The Blue Devils had a chance to jump ahead in the bottom of the sixth, but Davidson left fielder Brett Shore robbed McCurdy of a potential two-run double with a leaping grab on the warning track in left field. McCurdy’s deep fly came with a pair of Blue Devils in scoring position, but killed Duke’s momentum when Shore ran the ball down and caught it over his head within one step of the left field fence.

Meanwhile, Perry sat down three more in the seventh to run the retired batter streak to 15 straight outs. He picked up his second strikeout of the game in the inning, giving him 26 punchouts through 28 innings on the season.

Duke had another opportunity to break open the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh, but ran into some bad luck when Williams roped a two-out line drive straight to Davidson right fielder Chase FitzPatrick to strand a runner on third. Williams’ lineout left Tom Luciano on third after the freshman outfielder displayed his speed to move into scoring position after drawing a walk. Following his walk, Luciano easily stole second and moved over to third on a groundout to third base by Hassan. Luciano displayed his speed in moving to third, standing his ground when third baseman Chris FitzPatrick fielded the ball and taking off right after he threw over to first base.

DeMuro encountered another jam in the top of the eighth after giving up a pair of singles and allowing a pair of Blue Devils to reach base with two outs. He came away unharmed though, after forcing a fielder’s choice ground ball to force Duke to strand their eighth and ninth runners of the ballgame.

Following another perfect inning of relief from Perry, Duke called on Hassan to take the mound in the top of the ninth. He went ahead 0-2 in the count against Shore, but came too far inside with his next breaking ball and hit him in the leg to end Duke’s run of 18 straight retired batters. Shore soon moved into scoring position on an ensuing sacrifice bunt by Kayne just before Hassan struck out Webb for the second out. Hassan would lose a 3-0 battle against Weiss, however, putting a pair on with two outs. The Blue Devil closer did his job though, and dished out a called strikeout to designated hitter Sam Payne to end the inning.

Davidson changed pitchers as well in the bottom half of the ninth, sending left hander Chris Kennedy to the mound. The pitching changed looked to be the window Duke needed to end the game after Lemmerman and Hassan reached with singles, but Kennedy got two well-timed outs against the heart of Duke’s batting order to end the threat and send the game to extra innings. Duke managed to move both runners into scoring position on a deep fly ball by Williams, but left them both there after Kennedy struck out Freiman with three straight pitches.

The top of the 10th went in Duke’s favor, as Hassan retired three of Davidson’s four hitters, including his third strikeout victim of the night. The bottom of the inning went just as well, as Gould opened the frame with his third single of the night before receiving a free pass to second when Kennedy’s pickoff attempt to first base bounced in the dirt and sailed to the fence. Already in scoring position, Kennedy did Gould another favor by bouncing a fastball in the dirt to Saade, which newly-inserted catcher Tommy Piacenza could not corral. The wild pitch moved Saade to third, where he stayed momentarily when Kennedy struck out Saade on a 3-2 offering high in the zone. That brought Ghizzoni to the plate with one out on the board and Gould a mere 90 feet within ending the game. The sophomore outfielder took the first pitch for a ball, but caught the Wildcats sleeping on the next pitch when he squared around at the last second to lay down Kennedy’s pitch just in front of the plate. Gould slid into the plate untouched to end the game while Ghizzoni was able to reach first base uncontested.

Up next for the Blue Devils is a crucial ACC series against Wake Forest this weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Blue Devils are currently a half game ahead of the Deacs for the last spot in the ACC tournament bracket. Duke will put its weekend rotation of Andrew Wolcott, Christopher Manno and Jonathan Foreman on the mound against the Wake Forest trio of Ben Hunter, Charlie Mellies and Brad Kledzik.