DURHAM, N.C. – Four home runs and a solid pitching performance from sophomore Bryce Jarvis carried Duke to a 10-4 Sunday win against No. 7 Georgia Tech at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Sophomore Michael Rothenberg, senior Kennie Taylor, junior Erikson Nichols and sophomore Joey Loperfido all hit home runs, accounting for seven of the Blue Devils’ runs in the game.
Rothenberg finished three-for-four with three RBI and two runs scored while Taylor scored three runs on his Senior Day. The win snapped Duke’s four-game losing streak and lifted its record to 29-21 and 14-13 in ACC games. Georgia Tech dips to 35-15 and 17-10 in ACC play.
Jarvis (4-0) went 5.2 innings, picking up the win by limiting the Yellow Jackets to four runs on five hits, three walks and five whiffs. Sophomore Matt Dockman tossed the next two frames and fanned one. Sophomore Thomas Girard recorded the final four outs and tallied two strikeouts and one walk.
“(Bryce Jarvis) was tremendously competitive,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “I am very proud of Bryce Jarvis because we made some mistakes behind him early. They’re so offensive and they come at you in waves. If you flinch, you’ll look up and you’ll have given up four runs. We made some mistakes in the first and in the third, and he just wouldn’t flinch. He just kept making pitch after pitch. It was a tremendous job of competing and limiting the damage. I’m really proud of his effort.”
Georgia Tech took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Michael Guldberg hit a one-out single to the shortstop, advanced to second on an error and scored on a Tristin English single through the left side.
The Blue Devils countered with three in the bottom of the first to go up 3-1 on a two-out home run from Rothenberg that drove in Loperfido and Taylor, who had drawn consecutive walks to open the inning.
In the top of the third, the Yellow Jackets evened the game at 3-3. Guldberg doubled to left center to open the frame before Kyle McCann walked. English was hit by a pitch to fill the bases for Baron Radcliffe, who hit into a fielder’s choice that drove in Guldberg. After a strikeout, McCann scored on a wild pitch to deadlock the contest.
A leadoff home run in the top of the fourth off the foul pole in left from Nick Wilhite put Georgia Tech ahead at 4-3.
Duke answered in the bottom of the frame to retie the game, this time at 4-4. Graduate student Kyle Gallagher led off with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
The Blue Devils regained the advantage with a four-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth to go up 8-4. Taylor led off with a home run to left field. After a fly out, freshman Ethan Murray and Rothenberg singled. Gallagher lined out, but a passed ball allowed Murray to score for a 6-4 lead. Nichols followed by belting a two-run home that plated Rothenberg for the four-run advantage.
Duke added another run in the bottom of the sixth for a 9-4 cushion. With two outs, Taylor walked, advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt and scored on a double to right center by junior Matt Mervis.
The bottom of the eighth held the game’s final run as Loperfido hit a one-out homer to left center.
The Yellow Jackets managed just one base runner in the final three innings, on a one-out walk to Nick Wilhite in the ninth, as Duke held on for the win in the series finale.
On the mound, Georgia Tech’s Cort Roedig went the first 3.2 innings, giving up four runs on two hits, four walks and four whiffs. Luke Bartnicki (1-1) was saddled with the loss, lasting two innings and surrendering five runs, four earned, on five hits and a walk. Jake Lee recorded one out before giving way to Keyton Gibson, who threw one inning and yielded one hit. Walker Barlow went the eighth and allowed one run on one hit.
Duke is back in action Tuesday for its final regular season midweek game, at Liberty with a 6 p.m. first pitch.
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