DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke Blue Devils scored 13 runs on 13 hits in the first three innings on their way to a 15-4 rout of Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field. With the win, the Blue Devils improve to 16-4 on the season while the Knights fall to 4-4. Duke’s 16th win of the season eclipses last year’s win total.
The Blue Devils jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. After center fielder Jimmy Gallagher drew a two-out walk, catcher Nate Freiman sent an RBI-double down the left field line to score Gallagher. Third baseman Brett Bartles then crushed the first pitch he saw deep to left center for a two-run homer. The home run was the first for Bartles on the year and the eighth of his career.
Duke then scored four runs in the bottom of the second to go ahead 7-0. First baseman Jonathan Nicolla singled to center to begin the inning before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by second baseman Ryan McCurdy. Right fielder Alexander Hassan then lined an RBI-double to left, scoring Nicolla. After pitcher Jonathan Anderson reached on an infield single, Gallagher singled to right to load the bases. Freiman then lifted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Hassan and moving Anderson to third. Bartles followed with a two-run double to right to bring in Anderson and Gallagher.
The Blue Devils would extend their lead to 13-0 with a six-run third inning. Shortstop Gabriel Saade drew a walk to start the frame before stealing second and third on consecutive pitches. Nicolla responded with an RBI-single up the middle to score Saade. Two batters later, Hassan singled to right, scoring Nicolla from first and advancing to second on the throw to the plate. Anderson then reached base and Hassan advanced to third on a Knights error, giving the Blue Devils runners on the corners. Gallagher followed with an RBI-single to right to score Hassan. Anderson and Gallagher both moved up a base on a fly out by Freiman before scoring on a two-run double to left center by Bartles. Left fielder Jeremy Gould then capped the inning with an RBI-double down the left field line that scored Bartles.
Fairleigh Dickinson scored their first run of the game in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Vincente Medina.
Duke added a run in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Gould before scoring their final run of the afternoon on an RBI-single by Gallagher in the bottom of the sixth.
The Knights scored another run in the top of the eighth before crossing home twice in the top of the ninth to end the game at 15-4.
Bartles led the Blue Devils at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a two-run homer and a pair of two-run doubles. Gallagher also went 3-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored, Hassan finished 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored and Gould was 2-for-4 with a double and a pair of RBI. Nicolla went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, Freiman finished 1-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a run scored and Anderson was 1-for-2 with two runs scored. Freshman Michael Ghizzoni went 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored and freshman Christopher Manno was 1-for-2 with a run scored.
Junior right-hander Ron Causey picked up his first career win, limiting the Knights to one hit in three scoreless innings of relief. Anderson started the game for the Blue Devils on the mound and held Fairleigh Dickinson to one run on three hits in four innings of work. Anderson registered five strikeouts in the game and Causey added two.
Duke and Fairleigh Dickinson will wrap up their two-game series tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Jack Coombs Field. The Blue Devils then head to Clemson this weekend to face the sixth-ranked Tigers.