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Courtesy: Josh Rasmussen
Will Piwnica-Worms
Duke Holds on for 4-3 Win Over Canisius
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/25/2012
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DURHAM, N.C. - Freshman right fielder Grant McCabe broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI-single in the bottom of the seventh and Duke held on for a 4-3 win over Canisius in game two of a Saturday doubleheader at Jack Coombs Field. Duke improved to 4-4 with the doubleheader sweep, while Canisius fell to 3-3.

With the score knotted at 3-3, shortstop Matt Berezo drew a one-out walk and stole second to get the inning going. McCabe then sent a groundball up the middle that routinely would have been a groundout to short. But Berezo timed his break from second perfectly, blocking shortstop Ronnie Bernick's view and allowing the ball to get past the infield. Berezo would hustle around third and score the eventual game-winning run.

Canisius would threaten to tie the game in the top of the ninth. With runners on the corners and two outs, senior right-hander David Putman came in to face right fielder Chris Gruarin. Putman would strike Gruarin out on three straight sliders to end the game. It was the first save of the season for Putman and the third of his career.

Duke grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Berezo doubled to right center and advanced to third on an error by Gruarin to begin the inning. Two batters later, center fielder Will Piwnica-Worms drove Berezo in with an RBI-single down the right field line.

The Blue Devils added a pair of runs in the third to go ahead 3-0. Catcher Ryan Munger walked and Berezo singled to right to start the frame. Both runners then moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by McCabe. Munger would then score and Berezo would move to third on a groundball to the right side. Designated hitter Jeff Kremer then lifted a sacrifice fly to center to plate Berezo.

Gruarin had a standup double down the right field line to lead off the fourth. Designated hitter Shane Zimmer followed with a single to center to give the Griffs runners on the corners with no outs. Second baseman Jose Torralba then tried to bring Gruarin in with a suicide squeeze but Duke starter Robert Huber quickly got off the mound and threw Gruarin out at the plate. Center fielder Ryan Coppinger then drove in Zimmer with an RBI-single up the middle to cut the Duke lead to 3-1.

The Griffs tied the game at 3-3 with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth. First baseman Connor Panas had a run-scoring sacrifice fly and Gruarin added an RBI-single to tie the game.

Canisius threatened to take the lead in the top of the sixth. Catcher Mike Booth had a two-out double down the right field line. Bernick then sent a hard-hit low line drive to center but Piwnica-Worms charged in and made a spectacular diving catch to end the inning and save a run.    

Duke third baseman Jordan Betts kept the game tied at 3-3 with a great defensive play of his own in the top of the seventh. With runners on the corners and two outs, Zimmer sent a hard-hit groundball towards the hole between short and third. Betts dove to his left, came up with the ball on one hop, jumped to his feet and then fired across the diamond to get Zimmer out at first and save a run.

Piwnica-Worms led the Blue Devils at the plate, finishing 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI. Berezo went 2-for-3 with a double and three runs scored, while McCabe added a hit and an RBI and Betts, left fielder Andrew Istler and second baseman Angelo LaBruna all had one hit apiece.

Huber (2-0) picked up his second win of the season after holding the Griffs to three runs, two of those unearned, on nine hits in seven innings. Sophomore Mark Lumpa threw 1.2 scoreless frames out of the bullpen for the Blue Devils.

Canisius starter Devon Stewart (0-1) took the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings pitched.

The series finale will be on Sunday at 12 noon.  

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