CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – After being held to just four hits in last night’s loss to Virginia, the Duke offense exploded for 17 hits in a 13-9 victory over the third-ranked Cavaliers on Saturday afternoon at Davenport Field. With the win, the Blue Devils improve to 22-12 on the season and 3-11 in the ACC while the Cavaliers fall to 28-7 and 9-5, respectively.
Duke jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. Rightfielder Jimmy Gallagher sent a one-out single to center before moving to third on a single up the middle by leftfielder Alexander Hassan. Two batters later, first baseman Nate Freiman lined a two-run double into the gap in right center, scoring Gallagher and Hassan.
Virginia responded with a four-run third to go ahead 4-2. With runners on second and third and two outs, first baseman Sean Doolittle laced a two-run single to center to tie the game at 2-2. Leftfielder Brandon Guyer then turned on the first pitch he saw and sent a two-run homer off the left field foul pole to put the Cavaliers up 4-2.
The Blue Devils then used a four-run fourth inning to take a 6-4 lead. After shortstop Gabriel Saade drew a two-out walk, second baseman Ryan McCurdy moved him to second with a single to center. Gallagher then reached on an error that allowed Saade to score and moved McCurdy to second. Hassan then reached on another Virginia error that allowed McCurdy to score and moved Gallagher to second. Following a double steal by Gallagher and Hassan, third baseman Brett Bartles sent a two-run single up the middle to cap the frame.
Duke added five runs in the top of the fifth to extend its lead to 11-4. Catcher Matt Williams lined a leadoff single to right before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by designated hitter Tim Sherlock. Two batters later, Saade laced an RBI-single down the right field line to score Williams. With a hit-and-run on, McCurdy sent a single through the right side, moving Saade to third. Gallagher followed with an RBI-single to right to score Saade. After a two-out walk to Hassan loaded the bases, Bartles lined a bases-clearing three-run triple to right center, scoring McCurdy, Gallagher and Hassan.
The Blue Devils tacked on a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to go ahead 13-4. Williams singled to center and stole second to begin the frame. Two batters later, centerfielder Jonathan Anderson singled to right, moving Williams to third and Saade followed with an RBI-single up the middle to score Williams. After Anderson stole third, McCurdy beat out a double play ball at first, allowing Anderson to score.
The Cavaliers scored five unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth to make it a 13-9 ballgame.
Bartles led the Blue Devils at the plate, going 3-for-6 with five RBI. Bartles had a two-run single and a three-run triple in the win. Freiman went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a pair of RBI and Williams finished 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Saade was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, McCurdy went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, Gallagher had a pair of hits and three runs scored and Hassan scored three runs, as well.
Duke starter Tony Bajoczky improved to 6-2 on the season, holding the Cavaliers to four runs on six hits in six innings of work. The senior right-hander struck out four batters in the win. Freshman Michael Seander picked up his seventh save of the year, holding Virginia to one unearned run in 1.1 innings of relief. His seventh save now ranks tied for the third-best single-season output in Duke history.
Virginia starter Matt Packer fell to 3-2 on the year after giving up six runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings pitched.
Duke and Virginia will wrap up the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Blue Devils will then return to Jack Coombs Field on Wednesday to host Davidson at 7 p.m.