BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Trailing 3-2 heading into the top of the fifth, the Duke Blue Devils scored three runs in the frame before exploding for a six-run sixth inning on their way to an 11-7 win over Campbell on Tuesday night at Taylor Field. With the win, the Blue Devils improve to 19-9 on the season while the Fighting Camels fall to 5-22.
Left fielder Alexander Hassan reached on a Campbell error before moving to third on a bunt single by center fielder Jonathan Anderson to begin the fifth inning. Right fielder Jimmy Gallagher then lined an RBI-single through the right side, scoring Hassan, moving Anderson to third and advancing to second on the throw. Catcher Nate Freiman followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Anderson and move Gallagher to third. Third baseman Brett Bartles then capped the frame with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Gallagher and giving the Blue Devils a 5-3 advantage.
Duke took an 11-3 lead with the six-run sixth inning. After designated hitter Kyle Kreick drew a leadoff walk and shortstop Gabriel Saade was hit by a pitch, both runners moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Second baseman Ryan McCurdy then sent a two-run single to center, scoring Kreick and Saade. Hassan followed with a single through the left side to give the Blue Devils runners on the corners before Anderson drew a walk to load the bases. With the infield draw in, Gallagher lined an RBI-single between short and third to score McCurdy. Freiman followed with a two-run single to left, scoring Hassan and Anderson. Two batters later, first baseman Jonathan Nicolla lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score Freiman. The first seven batters in the inning reached base and five of the six runs scored came with no outs.
Campbell took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Center fielder Carlton Floyd sent a leadoff single to left center before stealing second. Left fielder Ryan Hamme then moved Floyd to third with a fly out to center before designated hitter Brandon Scott delivered a two-out RBI-single to left for the game’s first run.
Duke tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the second. Bartles led off the inning with a standup triple to right. Nicolla then laced an RBI-single to left to score Bartles.
The Blue Devils took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third. Anderson reached on a leadoff bunt single. Two batters later, Freiman sent a single through the right side of the infield, moving Anderson to third. Bartles then lifted a sacrifice fly to right to score Anderson.
The Fighting Camels tied the ballgame at 2-2 in the bottom of the third. First baseman Jacob Allen sent a one-out double up the middle before moving to third on a wild pitch. Hamme then brought Allen home with a sacrifice fly to center.
Campbell added a run in the bottom of the fourth to go ahead 3-2. After shortstop Rob Meng was hit by a pitch and stole second to start the frame, right fielder Mike Causey moved Meng to third with a sacrifice bunt. Second baseman Rob Lyerly then sent a grounder to short and Meng slide safely under Freiman’s tag at the plate, giving the Camels the lead.
Freshman Blake Lowry gave the Camels a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh and Campbell got an RBI-double from freshman Zach Johnson and scored a run on a wild pitch in the eighth to cut the Blue Devil lead to 11-7. With the bases loaded and the Camels threatening to make it a closer game, McCurdy made a spectacular leaping catch on a hard-hit line drive and threw to first for an inning-ending double play in the eighth.
Freshman Will Currier improved to 2-0 on the season, holding the Camels to three runs on six hits in five innings of work in his first career start. The Dripping Springs, Texas, native also struck out three batters without allowing a walk.
Duke returns home this weekend to take on No. 1 Florida State at Jack Coombs Field. Friday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m., Saturday’s game will be at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s series finale is set for noon.