DURHAM, N.C. – Solid pitching and a four-run fourth helped No. 13 Duke top Liberty, 5-2, Tuesday evening at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Blue Devil pitchers faced the minimum in six of the game’s nine frames and totaled 13 strikeouts to one walks while Duke (36-11) amassed double-digit hits for the fourth-straight game.
Sophomore Bill Chillari (6-1) set the tone on the mound, facing the minimum through four complete. A leadoff single in the fourth was the lone baserunner Chillari allowed. Freshman Bryce Jarvis allowed one hit over 1.1 innings before Ethan DeCaster and Jack Labosky retired all five batters they faced to close out the game.
“Bill Chillari really, really threw a ton of strikes early on,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “When D.J. Artis got on the fourth, did a great job of managing that situation and controlling the running game. Graeme [Stinson] pitched better than maybe the stat line with show. Bryce [Jarvis] came out and had a clean seventh. Ethan [DeCaster] did a great job of coming in and picking Bryce up in the eighth. Jack [Labosky] did what Jack’s been doing.”
Every Blue Devil in the starting nine reached base at least once while three – Jimmy Herron, Michael Smiciklas and Jack Labosky – had two hits on the night.
Tied 0-0 after two, Labosky greeted the bottom of the third with a double down the line before scoring on Chris Proctor’s RBI single.
An extra base hit once again ignited a Blue Devil rally the following frame as Joey Loperfido bounced a leadoff double off the Blue Monster. A Conine base knock scored the freshman from second prior to a Michael Smiciklas’ RBI triple. After back-to-back walks to Kennie Taylor and Labosky, Herron knocked an RBI single through the left side then Proctor capped the four-run fourth with a sacrifice fly to center.
Duke threatened in nearly every inning but solid Liberty defense on several hard hit balls kept the Blue Devils from extending the lead.
“We scored five runs against a really good club and 10 hits,” Pollard. “But we actually swung it even better than that.”
Two Liberty runs scored in the sixth on Tyler Galazin’s two-run single before Graeme Stinson worked out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts. The three-run cushion was ample for the Duke bullpen, which allowed a single baserunner the final three innings.
Duke steps back into ACC play this weekend, hosting North Carolina May 11-13 at the DBAP.