CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - After falling 5-3 in game one of a Saturday double header against Boston College, Duke bounced back to take game two 5-4 to salvage a split against the Eagles on Saturday afternoon at Shea Field.
Duke (14-8, 3-5 ACC) led for the first seven innings of Saturday's first game before Boston College (9-13, 2-6 ACC) rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning in the come-from-behind win. In game two, however, it was the Blue Devils who rallied late and scored two runs in the top of the seventh to come away with a win.
Duke senior Jeremy Gould had four hits on the day, but none bigger than the two-run double he knocked in the top of the seventh in game two. Gould came to the plate with the score tied at 2-2 and runners on second and third and laced a 2-2 fastball down the left field line to plate both runners and put Duke on top for the remainder of the game. The Duke relief duo of Marcus Stroman and Ben Grisz scattered two runs over the final 4.1 innings of game two as Stroman improved to 3-1 and Grisz locked up his team-leading third save of the year.
Boston College got two big hits from Matt Hamlet and John Spatola as part of its three-run eighth inning in game one. Spatola came to the plate with the score tied at 3-3, the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the eighth and squeaked a ground ball through the right side of the infield to put the Eagles on top. Duke led 3-2 heading into that inning, but allowed the tying run to score on a single from Matt Hamlet.
Hamlet's game-tying single in that inning knocked Duke starter Christopher out of contention for the win after the senior held a no-hitter through his first 5.1 innings of work. It took the Eagles 19 plate appearances before they got their first hit off of Manno, who scattered two hits and three runs over seven innings. Manno also picked off three base runners in the game.
Sophomore Will Piwnica-Worms collected three hits on the day for Duke, including two doubles, while classmate Joe Pedevillano reached base in seven of his 10 plate appearances out of the leadoff spot. Pedevillano also swiped three bases - all in game one - and is now 10-for-11 on the base paths this season.
Duke senior Ryan McCurdy was also hit by two pitches in the twinbill to become the ACC's all-time leader in times hit by a pitch. The senior catcher ranks first nationally this season with 17 HBP and now sits atop the ACC leaderboard with 63 in his four-year career.
With the series tied at one game apiece, Duke and Boston College will battle for the series victory on Sunday, March 28, at noon. Duke will throw right-hander Dennis O'Grady (0-0, 2.75 ERA) opposite Boston College lefty Pat Dean (3-0, 2.79 ERA). The game has been moved up one hour from the original start time of 1 p.m.
Game One: Late Rally Propels Boston College To 5-3 Win
Boston College got to Duke's bullpen in the bottom of the eighth inning and scored two runs with two outs against senior Michael Ness (1-3) to complete a come-from-behind win in Saturday's opener.
Duke senior Christopher Manno started and tossed 7.0 innings, holding a no-hitter through his first 5.1 innings of work. Manno left the game with the tying run on base, only to see it come across the plate as part of the three-run eighth inning that gave the Eagles the win.
Manno came out firing in the bottom of the first and retired the side in order on just 12 pitches. The 6-2 left-hander threw 10 of those pitches for strikes and struck two hitters. Manno allowed his first runner to reach base in the second inning after issuing a one-out walk, but erased the mistake by picking him off at second base.
Boston College starter Mike Dennhardt managed to match Manno's effort and opened the game by tossing three scoreless innings. Duke put men on in the first and third innings, but came away empty-handed. Pedevillano came the closest to scoring after being hit by a pitch and stealing second base, but was left there when Dennhardt got a strikeout to end the inning.
Manno issued another two-out walk in the third, but once again erased the mistake by picking the runner off at first. Through the first three innings, Dennhardt and Manno combined to allow no hits while striking out five.
That streak quickly came to an end, however, as Duke shortstop Jake Lemmerman knocked the first hit of the game in the top of the fourth and eventually came around to score to give Duke a 1-0 lead. Lemmerman smoked a hard ground ball through the left side for a base hit and then moved up two bases on a wild pitch and an ensuing single from Gould. Piwnica-Worms then brought him in with a sacrifice fly to right-center field for his team-leading 23rd RBI.
Duke had a chance to plate two more runs in the top of the fifth with men on second and third and two outs on the board, but Dennhardt escaped the jam to keep Duke's lead at 1-0. Pedevillano started the rally with a bloop single into left field and then stole second and third base. Lemmerman joined him in a double steal with two outs to put two men in scoring position, but Dennhardt got Gould to fly out to right field to end the inning.
Piwnica-Worms hit a leadoff double in the top of the sixth inning to spark a two-run rally that increased Duke's lead to 3-0. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Piwnica-Worms worked it back to 3-2 - fouling off two pitches in the process - and then hit a fly ball down the right field line for his team-leading 14th extra-base hit of the season. Duke then loaded the bases on a walk and an infield bunt single from freshman Mike Carroll before Dennhardt plunked Eric Brady to force in a run. Stroman sent in Duke's final run with a sacrifice fly ball to center field.
The Eagles broke up Manno's no-hitter and the shutout in the top of the sixth and cut Duke's lead to 3-2 on a two-run double by Mickey Wiswall. Eagles leadoff man Robbie Anston broke up the no-hit bid with one out by lacing a ground ball through the right side for a single. The single proved to be the start of a two-run rally as Wiswall then came through with a two-out double down the right field line that plated Anston and Garrett Smith, who drew a leadoff walk.
Manno pitched a scoreless seventh and lasted one batter into the eighth inning, but was pulled in favor of Ness after he walked the leadoff batter. Down 3-2, the leadoff walk proved to be the spark that Boston College needed to take over the lead. The Eagles would score three runs in the bottom of the eighth off of Ness to tie the game and go on top 5-3. Hamlet came through with a one-out single that tied the game before Spatola drove in two runs with a two-out single through the right side.
With the lead suddenly in Boston College's favor, the Eagles called on closer Matt Brazis to close out the ninth. He did so without any trouble and retired three of the four batters he faced to lock up his third save.
Game 2: Timely Hitting Gives Duke Series-Tying 5-4 Win
Jeremy Gould came through with a clutch two-run double in the top of the seventh inning, and Duke's bullpen held on for the win.
Gould drove in three RBI with three hits while Joe Pedevillano drew three walks and scored three times. Freshman Marcus Stroman (3-1) scattered three hits and a run over three innings out of the bullpen before Ben Grisz got the final four outs to lock up a save. Starter Eric Pfisterer lasted 4.2 innings and scattered two runs.
Piwnica-Worms gave Duke an early 1-0 lead with an RBI double in the top of the first inning. The two-bagger came after a leadoff infield single from Pedevillano and scored the Duke leadoff batter from second base.
The Eagles responded in the bottom of the first, however, and tied the game at 1-1 on an RBI single from Wiswall. Wiswall's base hit was one of three in the inning for Boston College, which also got a one-out single and a stolen base from Hamlet.
Duke went back on top in the third inning thanks to an RBI infield single from Gould. With runners on second and third, Gould laced a ground ball down the third base line that Anthony Melchionida backhanded, but could not get to first in time. Duke had a shot to extend that lead after loading the bases with two outs, but had that opportunity spoiled when starter Taylor Lasko got Carroll to pop up for the third out.
Duke starter Eric Pfisterer held the Eagles scoreless in the second, third and fourth innings, but allowed them to tie the game at 2-2 with two outs in the top of the fifth. Designated hitter Matt Watson came through with the big hit, a two-out base knock that plated Melchionida. That hit would be the last batter for Pfisterer, who handed the ball to Stroman. Stroman entered the game with Watson on first, but only threw one pitch as Duke catcher Ryan McCurdy received the offering and fired it down to second base in time to catch Watson trying to steal.
After being shut out by Lasko and Gordon over the previous three innings, Duke's offense finally got back on track and scored two runs in the top of the seventh to take a 4-2 lead. The top of Duke's lineup got the rally started, as Pedevillano opened the frame with a leadoff walk and moved to second on a single by two-hitter Ryan McCurdy. A sacrifice bunt from Piwnica-Worms moved them both into scoring position and set the table for a two-run double from Gould that put Duke on top.
Duke added another run in the top of the eighth to jump ahead by three runs at 5-2. Gordon ran into some control issues in that inning and walked one batter, hit another and gave up a single to Brady, all with one out. With the bases loaded, Gordon then threw a wild pitch that allowed Brian Litwin to score from third. That wild pitch would be the last offering from Gordon, as Jay Jeanotte came in and induced the final two outs without surrendering a run.
Stroman blanked the Eagles again in the bottom of the seventh, but gave up his first run in the bottom of the eighth as Duke's lead dropped to 5-3. Stroman did not surrender a hit to the first 11 batters he faced, but allowed a two-run double to Mike Sudol with two outs in the eighth. Sudol would become the first of three straight Eagles to reach base, as Anston was hit by a pitch and Hamlet reached with an infield single that loaded the bases. Duke then went to its bullpen once again and brought in Grisz, who struck out Wiswall with four pitches to end the inning with Duke still ahead 5-3.
Grisz stayed on to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning and struck out the first two hitters he saw. He made one mistake against Watson, however, and the freshman sent it over the right field wall for a solo home run. That would be the last run of the game for Boston College, however, as Grisz got the third out for his third save of the season.