CARY, N.C. - Freshman Chase Bebout and senior Christopher Manno combined for Duke's third shutout in five days as the Blue Devils completed a two-game sweep of Quinnipiac with a 5-0 win Tuesday evening at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
In his first career start, Bebout (1-0) struck out six batters in five innings without issuing a walk to notch his first career win. He surrendered four hits - all singles - before Manno took over and tossed four scoreless frames out of the bullpen to notch his second career save.
The shutout is Duke's third in the last five games. During that span, Duke's pitching staff has a 0.80 ERA, while the bullpen has allowed just one run. The Blue Devil pitching staff has also amassed 55 strikeouts and just 13 walks during that 45-inning run while holding the opposition to a .211 average.
While Bebout and Manno handled Quinnipiac's lineup, Jeremy Gould provided the bulk of Duke's offense with a three-run homer in the first inning. His home run was one of five extra-base hits for the Blue Devils, who won their eighth straight game. Leadoff batter Jake Lemmerman crushed two doubles, while freshman Mike Carroll tripled and three-hitter Will Piwnica-Worms knocked another double.
Duke (9-3) also ran wild on the base paths and stole seven bases, including four by freshman infielder Marcus Stroman. The Blue Devils stole third three times and did not get caught stealing once.
Defensively, the Blue Devils posted their fifth straight game without an error to raise their ACC-leading fielding percentage to .983. Outfielder Joe Pedevillano, who started and hit ninth, chipped in two outfield assists in the eighth and ninth inning.
Quinnipiac (0-5) banged eight hits and put nine runners on base, but stranded six in the loss. Starter Kyle Birdsall (0-1) took the loss after Duke tagged him for four runs in four innings. Relievers Derek Lamacchia and Alex Russow then took over and held Duke to one run on three hits over the remaining four innings.
Bebout retired the side in his first inning and then got some instant run support on a three-run homer from Gould in the bottom of the inning. Following a leadoff double from Lemmerman and a walk drawn by Piwnica-Worms, Gould crushed his first home run of the season over the left-center field wall.
Bebout kept Quinnipiac scoreless over the next two innings as well and got another run from his offense that boosted Duke's lead to 4-0. With two outs in the bottom of the third and Piwnica-Worms at third following a double, Carroll slapped a tailing fly ball into the right field gap. Bob cat center fielder Brian Monack tracked the ball and dove for it, but could not hang on as he hit the ground. Piwnica-Worms easily scored on the play, while Carroll sped all the way around to third base for his first career triple and Duke's fourth extra-base hit of the game.
By retiring the side in order in the third and fourth, Bebout retired seven straight batters heading into the fifth inning. Through those first four frames, the 6-6 freshman had thrown just 58 pitches while allowing just two Bobcats to reach base, both on singles.
After retiring his eighth and ninth consecutive batters, Bebout got into his first jam of the game in the top of the fifth, but stranded two Quinnipiac base runners by striking out Bobcats leadoff man Ben Farina. The strikeout against Farina was Bebout's third of the inning and his sixth of the game and left two men at the corners. Through five complete innings, the freshman allowed just two base runners to advance past first base.
Manno took over on the mound in the top of the sixth after Bebout's fifth straight scoreless inning. Quinnipiac managed to knock one hit off of the 6-1 senior, but had that hit erased when Manno picked off the runner at first base. From there, Manno notched Duke's seventh strikeout of the game to end the inning.
Quinnipiac struggled against Manno again in the seventh and went down in order. Through the first seven innings, Duke's pitching combination of Bebout and Manno retired the side in order four times.
Thanks to a leadoff double from Lemmerman, Duke was able to chip in one more run and to increase the lead to 5-0. Following the double to the left field warning track, freshman Eric Brady sacrificed his at bat to move Lemmerman to third with a bunt. From there, Piwnica-Worms drove him in with a fly ball to right field that gave the sophomore his 12th RBI of the season.
Manno fanned two more in the top of the eighth to give him four through three scoreless innings of work. He got some help from Lemmerman and Pedevillano in the eighth, as the two teamed up on a relay to throw out Kyle Nisson at third base. Nisson opened the inning with a single and then tried to go from first to third on another base hit from Farina, but Pedevillano fielded the ground ball in the outfield, and fired in to Lemmerman who spun and threw to Brady at third base. Brady applied the tag to Nisson and kept it on him as he overslid the base.
Pedevillano came through with another outfield assist in the top of the ninth to cut down what would have been a leadoff double. Quinnipiac cleanup hitter Joe Poletsky knocked a first-pitch single deep into the right field gap, but Pedevillano cut it off, spun and fired a strike into second base where Lemmerman caught it and applied the tag to Poletsky in front of the base.
Following the win, Duke continues its midweek gauntlet this Wednesday, March 10, with a trip to Spartanburg, S.C. where the Blue Devils face Wofford at 4 p.m. for their sixth straight game day. Duke has not announced a starter for Wednesday's game. Wofford will throw LHP Pete Noordsy (0-2, 10.97 ERA).