WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Redshirt senior Ryan Deitrich went 2-for-3 with three RBI to power the Duke baseball team to its seventh straight victory, a 5-2 decision over Wake Forest Friday evening at the Wake Forest Baseball Park. Duke’s seven consecutive wins mark the team’s longest winning streak since the Blue Devils put together eight straight victories in early 2010.
Deitrich supplied an RBI double in the second and blasted a two-run homer in the fifth to account for the Blue Devils’ first three runs of the game. Senior Jordan Betts also added a two-run double in the fifth to put Duke (26-16, 13-9 ACC) on top by three, a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the way.
“[Deitrich] was big,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “Obviously he had a really clutch hit in the second to help us have an answer after they score a run there in the first. And the big blow there in the fifth inning. We knew this was a good park for him, the way he likes to drive the ball in that gap. We felt the way the ball had carried here in batting practice, that there was an opportunity there where he might get a fastball he could handle and run it into that gap. And he did. Three RBI is a big step up performance by him.”
Senior Drew Van Orden (4-3) was outstanding in his fourth win of the season. The right-hander from Manhattan Beach, Calif., permitted two runs, only one earned, over seven innings of work. Van Orden was able to work out of trouble in the first and fifth innings, striking out six while scattering seven hits for the game.
The Demon Deacons’ Evan Stephens laid down a bunt base hit to start off a dicey first inning for the Blue Devils. An errant throw from Betts on a Grant Shambley fielder’s choice placed runners at the corners with no one out. Charlie Morgan then sent a sacrifice fly to center for the game’s opening run before Van Orden worked out of the inning.
Duke put together the first of two, two-out rallies to tie the game at one-all in the second. Wake Forest (26-19, 12-10 ACC) starter Jack Fischer (4-5) retired the first two Blue Devil batters before senior Matt Berezo put down a bunt just in front of home plate. Catcher Ben Breazeale was unable to corral the ball, and senior Mike Rosenfeld extended the inning with a base knock. Deitrich roped an RBI double down the left field line to score Berezo, however, Wake Forest gunned down Rosenfeld at home to end the threat.
The early back-and-forth action continued as Wake Forest regained the lead in the bottom half. Nate Mondou belted his eighth double of the season, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Breazeale RBI grounder.
Deitrich erased the Demon Deacon advantage for good with one swing of the bat in the fifth. The Collegeville, Pa., native’s two-run shot to left, his third home run of the season, also plated Rosenfeld, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
Duke was not done in the fifth, stringing together three-straight, two-out hits to complete the four-run frame. Senior Mark Lumpa singled and junior Andy Perez doubled, paving the way for Betts who drove them in with a double to right center, his 65th career and ACC-leading 16th double on the year.
“It was a great job by Lumpa of extending the inning,” Pollard said. “He had a good at bat, went to the opposite field. Andy Perez goes to the opposite field and drives a double down the line. Their rightfielder made a great play on it to keep Lumpa from scoring. They’ve got a chance to get off the field with neither of those runs crossing, and Betts comes up with the big double right there. I thought that was as a good an offensive sequence as we’ve had all year.”
Fischer settled down the rest of the way and retired the final 13 batters he faced. Fischer pitched the complete game, recording five strikeouts while yielding five runs in the loss.
Wake Forest put a serious threat together in the bottom half of the fifth, loading the bases with no one out. Van Orden buckled down, getting a strikeout and a fly ball to shallow right field before Morgan grounded out to second base to conclude the frame.
“The bottom of the fifth epitomizes the growth of Drew Van Orden,” Pollard added. “We get the four runs to take the lead. They come back and do a great job of loading the bases with nobody out. And they guts and the tremendous competitiveness he showed in that moment to get off the field right there, it just typifies his growth as a player this year.”
Van Orden threw two more scoreless innings before giving way to junior Andrew Istler in the eighth. Istler struck out a pair in a perfect frame to maintain the Duke lead. Sophomore Nick Hendrix earned his second save of the year, retiring all three batters he faced in the ninth.
Duke and Wake Forest meet again Saturday in game two of the series. Blue Devils left-hander Trent Swart (3-1, 0.93 ERA) is set to face Demon Deacon right-hander Garrett Kelly (1-1, 2.81 ERA) in the teams’ second meeting.