DURHAM, N.C. Ė Right fielder Jimmy Gallagher and first baseman Nate Freiman hit back-to-back home runs in a four-run sixth inning as the Duke Blue Devils defeated the Albany Great Danes, 7-1, on Tuesday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field. With the win, the Blue Devils improve to 7-0 while the Great Danes fall to 0-1.
Duke took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. After Gallagher hit a one-out single to left center, Freiman drew a walk to give the Blue Devils runners on first and second. Two batters later, catcher Matt Williams laced an RBI-single up the middle, scoring Gallagher.
A four-run sixth inning gave the Blue Devils a 5-0 lead. Center fielder Jonathan Anderson led off the inning with a bunt single. Gallagher then turned on an 0-1 offering and sent the ball flying over the right field wall for a two-run homer. The home run was Gallagher’s first of the season and ninth of his career. Freiman followed with a solo shot to right center on an 0-1 pitch. Freiman’s homer was his second of the season and seventh of his career. He also homered in Sunday’s 16-4 win over St. Bonaventure. Designated hitter Jonathan Nicolla later scored on a wild pitch to cap the inning.
Albany scored its lone run of the game in the top of the seventh on an RBI-single by center fielder Dave West.
The Blue Devils added a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to extend their lead to 7-1. Gallagher drew a one-out walk to start the inning before advancing all the way to third on a passed ball. Two batters later, third baseman Brett Bartles lined an RBI-single to left to score Gallagher. Bartles then advanced to second on a passed ball to move into scoring position. The junior then stole third but the throw from catcher Tom Zink scooted into left field, allowing Bartles to score the final run of the game.
Gallagher led Duke at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a two-run homer, two walks and three runs scored. Williams went 2-for-4 with an RBI, Freiman was 1-for-3 with a home run and Bartles went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Anderson and second baseman Ryan McCurdy both finished 1-for-4 on the day.
Freshman Alexander Hassan improved to 2-0 on the season in his first career start. Hassan struck out four batters and allowed only one hit in five scoreless innings. Anderson then pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth to preserve the six-run victory.
The Blue Devils will travel to Greenville, N.C., this weekend to play in the East Carolina Invitational. Duke will face Washington on Friday at 1 p.m., St. John’s on Saturday at 11 a.m. and East Carolina on Sunday at 2 p.m.