DURHAM, N.C. - Kenny Swab went 2-for-3 with a double and four RBI to lead No. 1 Virginia to a 10-6 win over Duke in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Swab was one of five Virginia batters with at least two hits as the Cavaliers (39-9, 18-6 ACC) tagged 16 hits in the game. Phil Gosselin, Tyler Cannon and Steven Proscia had three hits apiece as the top four of Virginia's batting order went 10-for-22 with six runs and three RBI.
The Blue Devils (25-21, 7-17 ACC) trailed by three runs heading into the fifth inning and scored twice to cut that deficit to 4-3. Reliever Tyler Wilson (5-2) took over for starter Cody Winiarski with two outs in that frame with the tying run at third base, however, and escaped the jam by inducing a flyout with one pitch. Wilson went on to throw 2.1 innings of scoreless relief to notch the win.
The Blue Devils got a two-run homer from freshman Marcus Stroman and four doubles, but could not keep up with a Virginia offense that leads the ACC in batting average, hits and doubles. Dennis O'Grady, making his first career appearance as Duke's leadoff hitter, went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a double while senior catcher Ryan McCurdy and designated hitter Will Currier also tagged one RBI double each.
Duke senior Christopher Manno reached a personal milestone on senior day when he struck out his 200th career batter in the top of the sixth inning. Manno, who totaled eight strikeouts in three appearances this week, becomes just the 11th player in Duke baseball history to reach the 200-strikeout plateau.
Currier opened the game with his RBI double in the bottom of the first to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead. Winiarski hit two batters in the inning, including Dennis O'Grady, before Currier knocked his double into the left-center field gap. Duke cleanup hitter Jeremy Gould, who was standing on first after being hit with two outs, tried to score on the double as well, but was thrown out at the plate on the relay throw from Virginia shortstop Cannon.
Duke starter Eric Pfisterer (3-5) protected that lead through the first three innings, allowing just one Cavalier to reach base in the process. That scoreless streak ended in the fourth, however, when Virginia mounted a two-out rally of its own to jump ahead 2-1. Catcher John Hicks came through with a two-out single that drove in the first run before Pfisterer ran into temporary control issues and walked two straight batters to send in the second run.
The two-out rallies continued in the bottom of the fifth when Duke got a two-run single from O'Grady that cut the deficit to 4-3. The Blue Devils tagged four hits in that inning and had a chance to tie the game with a runner on third and two outs, but Wilson took over for Winiarski and used just one pitch to induce an inning-ending flyout.
Virginia took that run back and added one more in the top of the sixth on an RBI single from Swab and an RBI double from Gosselin. The scoring continued again in the seventh when the Cavaliers strung together consecutive doubles from John Barr and Swab to increase their lead to 9-3.
Cannon opened the eighth inning for Virginia with a home run down the left field line to put the Cavaliers into double digits with a 10-3 lead. Duke cut that deficit to 10-5 on a two-run homer from Stroman in the bottom half of the eighth. Duke would score once more in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI double from McCurdy, but got no closer as closer Kevin Arico retired the next three hitters he saw to lock up the victory.
The Blue Devils will take a break from their schedule for Duke's exam week. Duke's next game will not take place until Monday, May 10, when the Blue Devils face North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C. That will be the first of four straight midweek games for Duke, which also hosts Presbyterian in a double header at Durham Athletic Park on May 11 before heading to Wofford on May 12.