Anthony D'Alessandro caught a fly ball in left and then gunned down Brandon Thomas at the plate to give the Blue Devils the win over No. 21 Georgia Tech on Sunday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.ATLANTA, Ga. – With Duke clinging to a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the ninth,
Thomas doubled down the left field line to start the ninth for the Yellow Jackets. He then moved to third on a groundout to short. First baseman Jake Davies sent a fly ball to left where D’Alessandro made the catch coming in towards the infield. D’Alessandro, who had just entered the game as a defensive substitution in the ninth, then threw a bullet that took one hop to catcher Mike Rosenfeld to get Thomas at the plate to end the game.
Freshman Andrew Istler (2-1) had an outstanding performance out of the bullpen for the Blue Devils. Istler threw a season-high 4.1 innings and held the Jackets to one run on six hits to pick up his second win of the season. David Putman then came on in relief of Istler with one out in the ninth and got Davies to fly out to left to start the game-ending double play. It was the third save of the year for Putman and the fifth of his career. Robert Huber started for Duke and held Georgia Tech to two runs on five hits in four innings of work.
Georgia Tech (18-11, 6-6 ACC) took a 1-0 lead in the first, scoring on an RBI-groundout by Davies.
Duke (12-17, 5-7 ACC) answered with a run of its own in the top of the second to tie the game at 1-1. Rosenfeld smoked a grounder through the legs of Sam Dove at third to reach on a one-out error. Second baseman Mark Lumpa then doubled into the left field corner. Left fielder David Perkins would then lift a sacrifice fly to foul territory in right to drive in Rosenfeld.
The Blue Devils took their first lead of the weekend in the top of the fourth. First baseman Andy Perez drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs to put Duke up 2-1.
The Jackets tied the game in the next frame, getting an RBI-single from center fielder Kyle Wren.
Right fielder Grant McCabe drew a leadoff walk and later stole second with one out in the fifth. Center fielder Will Piwnica-Worms then dropped a single into shallow center field to give the Blue Devils runners on the corners. Rosenfeld then sent a sacrifice fly to center, giving Duke a 3-2 advantage.
Thomas tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth with an RBI-single to center.
McCabe singled to left and advanced to second when Thomas booted the ball to start the top of the seventh. After designated hitter Jeff Kremer drew a walk, Piwnica-Worms moved McCabe to third on a fly out to center. Two batters later, Lumpa lined an RBI-single through the right side to put Duke back on top at 4-3.
Lumpa led the Blue Devils at the plate, finishing 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. The three hits were a career high for Lumpa. Rosenfeld went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, while Perkins was 1-for-3 with an RBI. McCabe added a hit and scored twice, Perez had an RBI and Piwnica-Worms and shortstop Angelo La Bruna both had a hit for Duke.
Josh Heddinger (1-3) took the loss after allowing one run on two hits in three innings of relief.
Duke will wrap up its eight-game road swing with a game at Campbell on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Blue Devils will then host Clemson next weekend at Jack Coombs Field.