HIGH POINT, N.C. – A Jordan Betts three-run double in the third gave the Duke baseball team a lead it would not relinquish as the Blue Devils completed the home-and-home series sweep of High Point with a 4-2 victory Wednesday evening at Williard Stadium.
Sophomore Dalton Brown (2-0) picked up the win, starting on short notice against the Panthers. Brown permitted just one unearned run in five efficient innings of work. The Woodland Hills, Calif., native gave up just one hit on the day, a single by Devin Bujnovsky in the fifth, while striking out two batters in his second start of the season.
“To come in on short notice like that and come out and pitch that type of ball game shows a lot of toughness,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “Shows a very team-first mentality. [Brown] went out there and gave us everything he had for 60 pitches. Can’t say enough good things, he set a tone for the whole day.”
Duke’s pitching staff was solid all game and limited High Point, a team that came into the game hitting .306, to seven hits. Freshman Nick Hendrix, sophomore Sarkis Ohanian and sophomore Andrew Istler each worked a scoreless inning in relief.
“We pitched great all day,” Pollard said. Seven hits, two walks against a good offensive club and we got great outings out of the bullpen in relief. Sarkis Ohanian had a really effective inning. Istler really got back on his game tonight.”
For the second time in as many days, High Point scored an unearned run early to take a 1-0 advantage. In the bottom of the first, shortstop Willie Medina drew the leadoff walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and moved to third on a grounder to the right side. First baseman Spencer Angelis delivered a hard-hit ball to short, which freshman Kenny Koplove was unable to corral, allowing Medina to score the first run of the night.
The Panther lead stood until the top of the third when a Betts bases-clearing double plated three. Catcher Reed Anthes roped a leadoff single to left before right fielder Jeff Kremer walked and center fielder Grant McCabe picked up his second base hit of the evening to load the bases. That brought Duke’s RBI leader Betts to the plate and the third baseman delivered with his 16th double of the season.
Three straight singles started off the Panther sixth as High Point was able to capitalize with a sacrifice fly to cut the margin to 3-2. Redshirt junior Chase Bebout, on in relief, was able to work out of the inning without further damage, inducing a fly ball to right and grounder to short.
The Blue Devils utilized a pair of Panther errors in the eighth to extend their advantage back to two runs. McCabe and Betts both reached on High Point errors and first baseman Chris Marconcini loaded the bases with a single to left center. Koplove followed a fielder’s choice with a sacrifice fly for his 15th RBI of the season.
“[Koplove’s] really competing,” Pollard said. “He just hangs in there and doesn’t give in to the pitcher. He also made some good plays for us defensively tonight.”
Koplove was one of eight Blue Devils with a hit in the game. McCabe and Anthes had two hits each to lead Duke.
Ryan Retz (4-3) suffered the loss for High Point, allowing four runs on 10 hits in seven innings of work.
Next up, Duke plays host to Maryland Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.