DURHAM, N.C. – Ten different Blue Devils registered a hit as the Duke baseball team defeated non-conference foe Norfolk State 11-1 Wednesday evening at Jack Coombs Field.
Six of Duke’s season-high-tying 12 hits went for extra bases and the Blue Devils also capitalized on four Spartan miscues to plate a season-high 11 runs. Center fielder Grant McCabe and shortstop Kenny Koplove recorded two hits apiece while McCabe, catcher Mike Rosenfeld and right fielder Ryan Deitrich each totaled two RBI.
Right-hander Drew Van Orden (1-0) pitched well to earn his first win of the season. Norfolk State (1-6) amassed just three hits in the game, all singles in the top of the fifth to score a lone run. Van Orden struck out five batters and walked one over an efficient 6.0 innings of work.
“It’s good to see [Van Orden] bounce back,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “He didn’t have a great start against UNC Greensboro. To bounce back and have that kind of quality start just shows the ability to be resilient. That’s something you have to be good at in this game.”
Spartan starter Devin Hemmerich (0-1) suffered the loss as Duke took a 2-0 lead in the third it would not relinquish. In 4.0 innings, Hemmerich permitted the two earned runs on five hits while striking out a pair and walking one.
The Blue Devils got on the board in the third, rallying for two runs with two outs. Rosenfeld walked and McCabe singled before Deitrich delivered the two-out, two-run double.
“We had a hard time seeing Hemmerich the first time through the lineup,” Pollard said. “When we did put a good swing on it we seem to hit it right at somebody. Sometimes when that happens, you can get outside your approach. But I thought our guys did a good job staying disciplined with their approach, staying focused. Because we didn’t press, we were able to break through in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings and put some crooked numbers on the board.”
Norfolk State cut the margin to a single run in the fifth as designated hitter Ross Cardwell singled and eventually scored on a Justin Burrell RBI base knock up the middle.
Duke responded with authority, scoring nine runs over the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Second baseman Mark Lumpa belted his second career triple and scored on a wild pitch to kick off the fifth before Duke tacked on an unearned run to extend its lead to 4-1.
“That’s anybody’s ball game at that point,” Pollard added. “Credit Norfolk State; they didn’t go away after we scored a couple. It was important for our team to respond in the bottom half of the fifth. We did a good job taking advantage of the drop in left. Sometimes you have to be opportunistic.”
Two more Blue Devils runs crossed home plate in the sixth on a Rosenfeld triple to right center. Duke put the game away with a five-run seventh, bolstered by RBI base hits from Koplove, McCabe and Cris Perez. Perez, a freshman from Miami, Fla., laced an RBI single through the left side in the seventh for his first collegiate hit and RBI.
“I thought that several guys did a great job coming off the bench,” Pollard said. “[Matt] Berezo came off the bench with a great at bat. Cris Perez came off the bench with a great at bat. Anthony D’Alessandro came off the bench and made a great play defensively. Karl Blum, J.R. Holloway and Bailey Clark did a great job coming out of the pen and being very aggressive in the strike zone.”
Duke heads to Myrtle Beach, S.C., this weekend for the Caravelle Resort Tournament hosted by Coastal Carolina. The Blue Devils square off against West Virginia Friday and Marshall Saturday before taking on the host team Sunday.