DURHAM, N.C. – After rain caused Saturday’s game to be suspended, Duke and Virginia Tech picked it up in the fifth inning on Sunday and the Blue Devils used a five-run sixth on their way to a 7-1 victory before dropping today’s regularly scheduled contest, 8-4. Duke won two of three games for the series win, improving to 29-21 overall and 8-19 in the ACC. The Hokies fall to 22-28 and 6-21, respectively.
Duke’s 29 victories now rank tied for the ninth-best single-season win total in school history. With just four games remaining on the season, the Blue Devils guaranteed themselves a winning record for the first time in 10 years and Duke’s eight ACC victories mark the second-highest league win total over that same time span.
When the Blue Devils and Hokies picked up the suspended game in the top of the fifth, Virginia Tech led 1-0 after scoring in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Anthony Sosnoskie.
Duke grabbed a 5-1 lead with a five-run sixth inning. Centerfielder Jimmy Gallagher, catcher Matt Williams and first baseman Nate Freiman had three consecutive singles to start the frame. With the bases loaded, third baseman Brett Bartles drove a two-run double to the wall in center to bring in Gallagher and Williams. Three batters later, shortstop Gabriel Saade laced a two-out two-run single to left to score Freiman and Bartles. Saade advanced to second on the throw to the plate before stealing third. Leftfielder Michael Ghizzoni then capped the inning with an RBI-single to left to score Saade.
The Blue Devils added a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to extend their lead to 7-1. Second baseman Kyle Butler had a leadoff single to right to begin the inning. After Gallagher drew a walk, Williams moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Freiman was then intentionally walked to load the bases and Bartles drew a walk to bring in Butler. Rightfielder Alexander Hassan then drove in Gallagher on a fielder’s choice to cap the scoring.
Freshman Will Currier improved to 4-0 on the season, holding the Hokies to two hits in five scoreless frames with four strikeouts. Currier gave up a walk and a single in the fifth inning before retiring 12 straight batters and 14 of the last 15 he faced.
Bartles led the Blue Devils at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double, three RBI and a run scored. Freiman finished 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, Saade was 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored and Gallagher went 1-for-2 with two runs scored. Ghizzoni finished 1-for-4 with an RBI, Williams was 1-for-3 with a run scored, Butler went 1-for-4 with a run scored and Hassan added an RBI in the win.
Virginia Tech reliever Rob Whitley fell to 2-1 after allowing five runs on six hits in 1.2 innings pitched.
In Sunday’s regularly scheduled contest, the Hokies jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI-double by shortstop Warren Schaeffer.
Duke tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom half of the frame. Gallagher lined the first pitch he saw to straightaway center for a leadoff homer. It was the sixth home run of the season for Gallagher and the 14th of his career.
The Blue Devils took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth when Freiman crushed a 3-2 pitch to deep left for a leadoff solo blast. It was the seventh home run of the year for Freiman and the 12th of his career.
A five-run seventh inning gave the Hokies a 6-2 lead. First baseman Sean O'Brien had a two-run double, third baseman Bryan Thomas added an RBI-single and Schaeffer capped the inning with a two-run single for Virginia Tech.
O’Brien added a two-run double in the top of the eighth to give the Hokies an 8-2 advantage.
Duke scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to make it an 8-4 ballgame. Williams drew a walk to begin the frame. Two batters later, Saade singled through the left side, moving Williams to second. Sophomore Tim Sherlock then came in to pinch hit and delivered a two-run double to right to score Williams and Saade.
Virginia Tech starter Adam Redd improved to 3-5 on the season, holding the Blue Devils to two runs on three hits in six innings of work. Scott Stoehr picked up his second save of the year after limiting Duke to two runs on two hits in three relief frames.
Hassan fell to 2-5 after giving up five runs on eight hits in a career-high 6.2 innings. He struck out a career-high six batters in the game. Butler added a scoreless ninth for the Blue Devils.
Sherlock led the Blue Devils at the plate with a pinch-hit two-run double. Freiman was 1-for-2 with a solo home run, Gallagher was 1-for-5 with a solo homer and Williams and Saade both finished 1-for-3 with a run scored.
The Blue Devils will host North Carolina A&T on Tuesday at noon in their final home game of the year. Duke wraps up the regular season with a trip to Miami Thursday through Saturday.