DURHAM, N.C. – Trailing 5-2 with one out in the sixth, Duke exploded for five runs in the inning, highlighted by a three-run triple from sophomore catcher Chris Proctor, on its way to a 12-5 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field.
With the victory, Duke (26-24, 11-15 ACC) clinched the series win over Georgia Tech (24-24, 9-17 ACC).
With one out in the sixth, sophomore center fielder Kennie Taylor sent the first pitch he saw down the left field line for a stand-up double. Sophomore shortstop Zack Kone then dropped an RBI single into right center as Taylor raced home to cut the Yellow Jacket lead to 5-3. After junior second baseman Max Miller was hit by a pitch, first baseman Jalen Phillips drew a walk on four straight pitches to load the bases. Proctor then drove a 3-2 offering into right center for a bases-clearing triple that gave the Blue Devils their first lead of the game at 6-5. Sophomore left fielder Jimmy Herron brought Proctor home two pitches later with a sacrifice fly to right, putting Duke ahead 7-5.
Duke added three runs one inning later to take a 10-5 lead. Junior third baseman Jack Labosky drew a one-out walk on four consecutive pitches to get the inning going. Following the second out of the frame, Kone and Miller both singled to load the bases, forcing a second pitching change in the inning by Georgia Tech. Phillips then reached on an infield single to short, scoring Labosky. Kone would also score on the play following a throwing error by Georgia Tech shortstop Austin Wilhite. Proctor capped the frame with an RBI single to center, driving in Miller for his fourth RBI of the afternoon.
Nick Hendrix took the mound in the eighth for the Blue Devils and sat the Yellow Jackets down in order.
In the bottom half of the eighth, junior right fielder Michael Smiciklas drew a walk and stole second to lead off the inning. Sophomore designated hitter Griffin Conine then ran the count to 3-2 before drawing a walk and being lifted for a pinch runner. Labosky moved Smiciklas to third and freshman Chase Creek into scoring position on a fly out to center. Two batters later, Kone lined a two-out, two-run single to center to account for the final 12-5 margin.
Hendrix closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, retiring all six batters he faced on just 26 pitches.
Georgia Tech went ahead 1-0 in the opening frame on an RBI single by center fielder Ryan Peurifoy.
The Yellow Jackets added three runs in the top of the third to go ahead 4-0. Left fielder Chase Murray had a two-run triple to right center and scored on a groundout one batter later.
Proctor drew a walk on a 3-2 count to start the bottom half of the third and later crossed the plate on a wild pitch to get the Blue Devils on the scoreboard.
In the fifth, Herron drew a two-out walk before Smiciklas smashed the first pitch he saw to the right field wall for an RBI double, cutting the Georgia Tech lead to 4-2.
In the top of the sixth, right fielder Coleman Poje tripled to deep center before scoring on a sacrifice fly, pushing the Yellow Jackets ahead 5-2.
Junior Chris McGrath (1-1) was the beneficiary of the five-run sixth inning for the Blue Devils, as the left-hander picked up his first win of the season. McGrath went 1.2 innings in relief and forced a 5-4-3 double play to end the seventh. Junior starter Ryan Day pitched 5.1 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits in the no decision. Day struck out four Yellow Jackets and walked three.
Proctor drove in four runs on the afternoon and finished 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored. Kone went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs. Smiciklas finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Phillips had one hit, one RBI and scored once in three at-bats. Miller scored twice and had a hit for the Blue Devils, while Herron drove in a run and score once. Taylor added a hit and a run scored for Duke.
Peurifoy led the Yellow Jackets at the plate, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run. Murray had a pair of RBI for Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech starter Keyton Gibson surrendered five runs on five hits in 5.1 innings of work. Connor Thomas (0-1) took the loss after giving up two runs in the sixth.
Duke and Georgia Tech take the field for game three of the series Sunday, May 14 at 1 p.m., on ACC Network Extra.