DURHAM, N.C. – Furman put five runs on the board in the both the third and seventh innings then held off a late Blue Devil rally to outlast the Duke baseball team 11-9 in non-conference action Wednesday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field. The Paladins came up with key hits, extending innings with seven two-out hits in the game.
“Give a lot of credit to Furman,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “They did a great job with two outs of extending innings. The difference in the ball game was that they extended the third inning and the seventh inning with two outs. They were able to push runs across. If we do a good job of getting off the field in those two situations, it’s probably a different ball game. They got their hits with two outs and that was the difference.”
Redshirt juniors Chris Marconcini and Mike Rosenfeld both drove in a run to give Duke (9-8, 1-2 ACC) an early 2-0 cushion in the bottom of the first, a lead which held until the top of the third. Following a Jordan Simpson solo shot in the second, Furman (7-10, 0-0 SoCon) proceeded to plate five runs on five hits in the third. All five tallies came with two outs as a Duke error in the midst of four-straight two-out base hits catapulted the Paladins to a 6-2 advantage.
Junior Andy Perez doubled and scored in the fifth, while senior Jordan Betts tripled and crossed home on a Matt Berezo RBI base knock to trim the margin to 6-4 heading into the final three frames.
The Paladins tallied three hits with two outs in the seventh, putting five runs on the board for the second time in the game.
Down 11-4, Duke put together a serious rally over the final two innings, but came up just short in the end. Four walks and two hit batters allowed the Blue Devils to send four around in the eighth before Berezo scored on a Kenny Koplove sacrifice fly in the ninth. Duke brought the tying run to the plate, but could not do further damage as the Paladins’ Brant Masters recorded the final outs to earn his third save of the season.
Making his first start this season at shortstop, Berezo tied a career-high with three hits, including a leadoff double in the ninth to go along with two runs scored and an RBI. Betts, Marconcini, Perez, Ryan Deitrich and Mark Lumpa accounted for Duke’s remaining hits.
Freshman J.R. Holloway (0-1) took the loss after yielding six runs, only two earned, in 2.2 innings of work. Furman’s Jacques de Gruy (1-1) picked up the win, covering two complete innings in relief of starter Matthew Quarles, who departed the game after pitching 4.2 innings.
Duke welcomes Notre Dame to Jack Coombs Field this weekend, taking on the Fighting Irish for the first time as conference foes. The two teams are set to meet Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m., and Sunday at 12 p.m.