RALEIGH, N.C. - Jake Buchanan pitched a complete game with nine strikeouts to lead N.C. State to an 8-3 win over Duke in the series opener on Thursday evening at Doak Field.
Buchanan (7-4) scattered nine hits and three earned runs over his nine complete innings and retired nine of the last 11 batters he faced. The junior right-hander threw 131 pitches and got plenty of run support from Dallas Poulk and Drew Poulk, who hit back-to-back homers in the first inning and finished with three RBI apiece.
NC State (34-20, 13-15 ACC) staked a 6-2 lead by the end of the fourth inning, and Buchanan held the Blue Devils to just one run over the game's final five frames. The top third of the Wolfpack order provided the bulk of the offense as leadoff batter Kyle Wilson singled, walked twice and scored three runs and the Poulk cousins combined for three home runs and six of the team's eight RBI.
Duke (29-25, 8-20 ACC) matched NC State with nine hits, including two doubles from sophomore Brian Litwin and another two-bagger from senior Jonathan Foreman, but left nine men on base. Senior Ryan McCurdy provided two RBI for the Blue Devils with a two-out single and a one-out sacrifice fly while Foreman also drove in a run with his first career double.
The Wolfpack tagged Blue Devil starter Marcus Stroman (6-4) for six runs over five innings, taking advantage of a career-high five walks from the Duke freshman. Stroman still managed to post five strikeouts, giving him 64 punchouts in 57.2 innings in his first season.
The Poulks delivered back-to-back homers in the bottom of the first inning to put NC State on top 2-0. Dallas Poulk sent his over the right field wall before Drew followed with a blast over the left field wall. Duke responded in the top of the second with an RBI single from McCurdy, however, to trim the deficit to 2-1.
That would be as close Duke came to tying the game, however, as Drew Poulk came through with another two-run homer in the bottom of the third. With one out and a runner on first base, Poulk hammered Stroman's 1-1 offering well over the left field wall for his second and third RBI of the day.
The Blue Devils got a two-out RBI double from Foreman in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to 4-2, but could not hold the Wolfpack down as Dallas Poulk matched his brother with a two-run double in the fourth. Poulk's double came as part of a two-out rally that started with a walk drawn by Wilson and ended with Poulk's double to the left field gap. Litwin chased the ball to the gap and dove for it, but just missed as it got past him and rolled to the warning track. The two-bagger plated Wilson from first and John Gianis from second as NC State took a 6-2 lead.
McCurdy drove in another run for the Blue Devils with a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth that cut the NC State lead to 6-3. Duke had a chance to cut into that deficit even more after Litwin's second double of the game left runners at second and third with two outs. Buchanan got out of the jam, however, by forcing leadoff man Joe Pedevillano to pop up to second base.
The Blue Devils went to the bullpen in the bottom of the sixth and brought in sophomore reliever Ben Grisz who gave up a pair of infield singles to start the inning. The bad luck continued for Grisz as Andrew Ciencin drove in one of those runners with a sacrifice fly before Grisz retired Pratt Maynard to end the inning. Grisz had better luck in his next frame when he used just eight pitches to get through a scoreless seventh.
Manno took over for Grisz in the eighth and worked his way into a bases-loaded, no-out jam, but found himself just in time and got away with allowing just one run. Manno struck out Ciencin and then surrendered a sacrifice fly that to Maynard that ran the Wolfpack lead to 8-3, but then struck out Harold Riggins to strand two men on base.
Buchanan stayed on in the ninth to wrap up his complete game. He surrendered a walk to Brian Litwin and a one-out bloop single to Pedevillano, but then retired the next two batters to notch his second complete game of the year.
Duke and NC State continue the three-game series on Friday, May 21, with another 6:30 p.m. showdown. On the mound for Duke is sophomore left-hander Eric Pfisterer (3-6, 6.45 ERA) opposite NC State right-hander Cory Mazzoni (7-3, 4.58 ERA).