DURHAM, N.C. - Harold Martinez homered for the second straight game and drove in three RBI to lead 11th-ranked Miami to an 11-3 win over Duke on Saturday afternoon at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Martinez went 3-for-4 with a double and a ninth-inning home run to lock up a series-clinching win for the Hurricanes (13-5, 4-1 ACC). The long ball was Martinez' team-leading sixth of the season and his second of the series, which Miami now leads 2-0.
Miami's 11 runs provided plenty of support for starter Jason Santana (2-1), who scattered three runs on six hits over 5.2 innings. Santana struck out five batters and walked just one before handing the ball to relievers Daniel Miranda and David Gutierrez, who shut the Blue Devils out over the final three innings.
Miami got the bulk of its offensive production from the middle of its lineup. In addition to Martinez' three RBI and two runs from the sixth spot in the order, five-hitter Chris Pelaez and seven-hitter Michael Broad also drove in two runs apiece. Three-hitter Scott Lawson crossed the plate three times after tagging three singles on the day.
Duke sophomore Will Piwnica-Worms tagged a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning. The long ball was Piwnica-Worms' second of the season and his team-leading 10th extra-base hit of the season. Duke (12-6, 2-3 ACC) also got an RBI single from senior catcher Ryan McCurdy and an RBI groundout from freshman Marcus Stroman.
Miami was aggressive on the base paths early in the game, and it paid off as two stolen bases from Stephen Perez led to a 1-0 Hurricane lead in the first inning. After drawing a one-out walk, Perez was picked off at first by Duke starter Eric Pfisterer, but took off for second base and beat the throw with a feet-first slide. He then took off for third base and arrived at the same time as the throw, but his knee made contact with Eric Brady's glove and knocked the ball into foul territory. Perez trotted home while Brady recovered the ball before Pfisterer retired the next batter to end the inning.
The Blue Devils struck back in the second inning and mounted a two-out rally that put them on top 2-1. Brady got the rally started with a one-out double down the right field line and moved over to third on an ensuing infield single by Gabriel Saade. Stroman then drove in the first run with a ground ball that nearly squeaked through the left side, but was cut off at shortstop by Perez and converted into a fielder's choice. Brady scored on the play while Stroman eventually got in from second base on a two-out bloop single from McCurdy.
The Hurricanes would not stay down for long, however, as they strung together five straight two-out hits in the top of the fifth to go ahead 6-2. Miami scored all five of its runs with two outs in the inning, the last two of which came on a bloop single from Broad.
The Blue Devils kept swinging, however, and got a solo home run from Piwnica-Worms to cut the deficit to 6-3. Piwnica-Worms sent his second long ball of the season over the 32-foot wall in left-center field.
After he surrendered the five two-out runs in the top of the third, Pfisterer settled down and retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth. The sophomore lefty used just 18 pitches during that span while picking up his third strikeout of the game.
Duke managed to put two men on and bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning, but came away empty-handed when the left-handed Miranda entered the game in place of Santana. Miranda came to the mound with two outs and men at the corners and got Duke pinch hitter Will Currier to ground out back to the mound for out number three.
Miami drove in a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh off of reliever Ben Grisz. The Hurricanes welcomed Grisz to the game with three straight singles, including an RBI base knock from Yasmani Grandal. Grisz then induced a double play ground ball, but had to forfeit a run in the process and allowed the Hurricanes to increase their lead to 8-3.
Miami put any shot at a Duke comeback to rest in the top of the ninth with a two-run homer from Martinez that increased the lead to 11-3. Martinez' two-run blast came with two outs and was the second hit of the inning following a leadoff triple by Lawson.
Duke will have another shot to come away with a win as the series concludes on Sunday, March 20, at 1 p.m. in the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Duke will throw right-hander Dennis O'Grady (0-0, 2.63 ERA) opposite Miami southpaw Eric Erickson (1-1, 3.79 ERA).