ATLANTA, Ga. - Chase Burnette homered and drove in three RBI to back a seven-inning start from Deck McGuire as No. 3 Georgia Tech took down Duke 13-3 in the series opener Friday evening at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Burnette went 3-for-5 and scored twice while McGuire (5-1) scattered three runs over seven complete innings. The reigning ACC Pitcher of the Year, McGuire threw 107 pitches and struck out five while walking just one. Georgia Tech reliever Clay Dalton took over in the eighth and held Duke (16-10, 3-7 ACC) scoreless for the final two innings.
Georgia Tech (23-3, 9-1 ACC) also got two RBI from first baseman Tony Plagman and had a total of seven players drive in at least one run. Cleanup hitter Cole Leonida recorded three hits, including one of the Yellow Jackets' three doubles.
Duke trailed 3-2 heading into the sixth inning, but the Yellow Jackets exploded for eight runs in that frame to blow the game open. Burnette's home run sparked that offensive explosion and was the first of five hits in that inning. Duke starter Christopher Manno held the Yellow Jackets to just three runs in his first five innings, but had his final pitch sent over the right field wall by Burnette in the top of the sixth.
McGuire had trouble getting the middle of Duke's lineup out as three-hitter Jake Lemmerman, cleanup hitter Jeremy Gould and six-hitter Will Currier each went 2-for-4. He had little trouble with the rest of Duke's offense, however, as the remaining Blue Devils combined for two hits. Gould and Currier each drove in one run, while freshman second baseman Marcus Stroman sent in another with an RBI groundout.
Neither team committed an error in the contest. Duke has now played errorless defense in 14 of its 26 games and ranks fifth nationally with a .981 fielding percentage.
Georgia Tech got three perfect innings from McGuire to start the game and gave him a 2-0 lead to protect heading into the third. Burnette got the rally started with an infield single and then scored all the way from first on an ensuing double from Jacob Esch. Manno bounced back to retire the next two batters, but then committed a balk with runners at the corners to push the Yellow Jackets' second run across.
Another RBI double from Matt Skole in the bottom of the third pushed Georgia Tech's lead to 3-0. Skole made Manno pay for an early hit batsman with his two-out double, which stayed inside the first base line and rolled into the right field corner.
Following three perfect innings from McGuire, Duke's bats finally went to work in the fourth and scored twice to cut the deficit to 3-2. Duke knocked four hits in the inning, including RBI singles from Gould and Currier. Brian Litwin started the rally with a leadoff single before Lemmerman, Gould and Currier all got in on the action. Duke would load the bases with one out, but had the rally halted when McGuire induced a double play ground ball for the final two outs.
Both Manno and McGuire got back on track after that inning with Manno facing the minimum six over his next two innings and McGuire recording his fourth three-up, three-down inning in the fifth. Manno's only fault during that span was a two-out walk in the bottom of the fourth, but catcher Ryan McCurdy helped him erase that mistake by throwing out the runner at second on a wild pitch.
Georgia Tech knocked Manno out of the game in the sixth when Burnette mashed a two-run homer over the right field wall. The long ball - Burnette's seventh of the season - sparked an eight-run rally that left the Yellow Jackets on top 11-2 heading into the seventh inning. Duke used four pitchers to get through the inning with sophomore David Putman recording the final two outs.
The Blue Devils took back one of those runs in the top of the seventh, thanks to a leadoff double from Currier, only to see the Yellow Jackets reclaim the run in their next turn. Georgia Tech would go to its bullpen in the eighth and called on Dalton to get through the final two innings.
Duke freshman Ryan Munger, who replaced McCurdy as the catcher in the eighth inning, mashed a double in the top of the ninth for his first career hit. That would be the last knock of the game for Duke, however, as Dalton retired two of the next three hitters to end the game with Munger stranded on third.
Duke and Georgia Tech will resume the three-game series on Saturday, April 3, at 6 p.m. in Russ Chandler Stadium. Duke will use left-hander Eric Pfisterer (2-2, 5.93 ERA) against Georgia Tech righty Brandon Cumpton (4-0, 5.29 ERA).