DURHAM, N.C. Ė Right fielder Jimmy Gallagher led a 25-hit attack for the Duke Blue Devils as they pounded the La Salle Explorers, 19-3, on Wednesday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field. The Blue Devils improve to 7-10 on the season while the Explorers fall to 1-9.
Gallagher collected a career-high five hits on the day, going 5-for-6 at the plate with a career-high four RBI and a career-high four runs scored.
The Blue Devils, who scored in each of the first seven innings, took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, scoring all three runs with two outs. After shortstop Brett Bartles singled to third, Gallagher laced an RBI-double over the center fielder’s head to score Bartles. Third baseman Adam Murray then roped an RBI-single through the left side, scoring Gallagher. First baseman Jonathan Nicolla followed with an RBI-single of his own, scoring Murray to put the Blue Devils up by three.
La Salle made it a two-run game in the top of the second, scoring on an RBI-double by center fielder Dennis Burge.
Duke would then use a six-run second to take a 9-1 lead. Second baseman Javier Socorro singled up the middle to start the inning. After catcher Matt Williams was hit by a pitch and Bartles drew a walk to load the bases, Socorro scored Duke’s fourth run of the game on an error by La Salle first baseman Rich Prall. With the bases loaded, Murray hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Williams and move Bartles and Gallagher up a base. Bartles then scored on a groundout by Nicolla to give Duke a 6-1 advantage.
Designated hitter Tim Sherlock followed with an RBI-single through the right side to score Gallagher from third. Left fielder Daniel Palmer then laced an RBI-triple down the right field line, scoring Sherlock from first. Center fielder Jonathan Anderson capped the inning with an RBI-single down the left field line to score Palmer.
The Blue Devils would push their lead to 11-1 with RBI-singles from Nicolla and Sherlock in the bottom of the third inning.
The Explorers would then score on a Duke error in the fourth to make it an 11-2 ballgame.
Duke scored three runs in the fourth to take a twelve-run lead. After Socorro hit a one-out single to right, Williams lined a single to right to give the Blue Devils runners on the corners. Bartles then roped an RBI-single to right to score Socorro. Gallagher followed with an RBI-single, scoring Williams and advancing Bartles to third. Bartles would then score on a fielder’s choice to cap the inning.
The Blue Devils would add a run in the fifth on an RBI-double by Anderson.
La Salle scored their final run of the day on a sixth-inning solo blast by left fielder George Hudock.
After Gallagher scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth, Duke would put up three runs in the seventh to take a 19-3 lead. Anderson led off the inning with a single through the right side before scoring on an RBI-triple by Socorro. Socorro would then score on a wild pitch. After Bartles doubled to right center, Gallagher capped the scoring with an RBI-double to center field.
The Duke pitching staff combined to hold La Salle to five hits in the game. Starter Danny Otero (4-0) picked up his fourth win of the season, holding the Explorers to one earned run on four hits in 5.0 innings of work. Freshman Colin Ratcliffe pitched 2.0 innings of relief, allowing one run on one hit while registering three strikeouts. Senior lefty Sean O'Brien worked 1.0 hitless inning, allowing one walk while striking out two. Gallagher then worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning, striking out the last two batters he faced.
La Salle starter Jamie Cowan (1-1) was knocked out of the game in the second inning after allowing seven runs on five hits.
Sherlock collected a career-high four hits for the Blue Devils, going 4-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored. Socorro, Bartles, Palmer and Anderson all had three hits on the day while Nicolla picked up a pair of hits and three RBI. Murray finished 1-for-3 at the plate with three RBI and two runs scored.
Duke will return to action this weekend with a three-game series against Winthrop. The Blue Devils will host the Eagles on Friday and Saturday at Jack Coombs Field before traveling to Rock Hill, S.C., for the series finale on Sunday.