DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke Blue Devils defeated the North Carolina A&T Aggies, 7-2, on Tuesday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field. With the win, the Blue Devils improve to 10-1 on the season while the Aggies fall to 1-4.
Duke jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Second baseman Ryan McCurdy singled to center to start the inning before moving into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by center fielder Jonathan Anderson. After right fielder Jimmy Gallagher was hit by a pitch, first baseman Nate Freiman laced a two-run double to left to score McCurdy and Gallagher.
The Aggies got a solo home run from shortstop Nick Mayo in the top of the third to make it a 2-1 ballgame.
The Blue Devils added a run in the bottom of the fourth to push their lead to 3-1. Catcher Matt Williams singled through the right side to begin the inning. After an out, designated hitter Will Currier and shortstop Gabriel Saade drew consecutive walks to load the bases. McCurdy then reached on a fielder’s choice to second, allowing Williams to score.
A two-run fifth inning gave Duke a 5-1 advantage. Freiman sent a one-out double down the left field line to start the frame. Two batters later, Williams lined a two-out RBI-single to center, scoring Freiman and moving to second on the throw to the plate. Left fielder Alexander Hassan followed with an RBI-single to center to score Williams.
North Carolina A&T got an RBI-single from right fielder Charlie Gamble in the top of the sixth to cut Duke’s lead to 5-2.
The Blue Devils added a pair of runs in the bottom half of the sixth to cap the scoring at 7-2. After Anderson drew a two-out walk and stole second, Gallagher was hit by a pitch, giving Duke runners on first and second. Freiman then doubled over Jeremy Jones’ head in deep center to score Anderson and Gallagher.
Freiman led the Blue Devils at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three doubles, four RBI and a run scored. Williams went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, Hassan was 1-for-2 with an RBI and McCurdy finished 1-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.
Freshman Michael Ness improved to 2-0 on the season, holding the Aggies to one earned run on four hits in six innings of work. Ness also struck out four batters without allowing a walk. Freshman Michael Seander earned his third save of the year, giving up only four hits in three scoreless innings of relief.
The Blue Devils will host Holy Cross for a double-header on Saturday at 1 p.m. Duke will then wrap up the three-game series with the Crusaders on Sunday at 1 p.m. Two home games against Temple (March 6) and Xavier (March 7) follow before the Blue Devils open ACC play against Boston College March 9-11 at Jack Coombs Field.