CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A pair of five-run innings powered the Duke baseball team to a 12-3 victory over 12th-ranked Miami Friday evening at Mark Light Field. With the win, the Blue Devils even the weekend series with the Hurricanes and improve to 30-23 on the season, including a 15-14 mark in ACC play.
“I’m really proud of our offense to create some separation,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “We took advantage of free offense, that’s something we had keyed on in our pregame meeting. We also had some soft contact fall in. We’ve set up a rubber match and it’s going to be a lot of fun tomorrow.”
Duke jumped out to a five-run lead before Miami (37-17, 17-12 ACC) scored a pair of runs across the fourth and fifth innings to trim the margin. The Blue Devils went on to score seven across the final four frames, including another five-run inning in the eighth to secure the series-evening win.
The Blue Devils received an impressive outing from its pitching staff, including a solid start from junior left-hander Bill Chillari. Chillari went the first 3.1 innings, allowing one earned run on two hits and four walks while recording one strikeout. Freshman Jack Carey was the first arm out of the bullpen, working 1.2 frames, surrendering one earned run on one hit while walking one and collecting one punchout.
It was sophomore Matt Dockman (5-1) who picked up the win, covering 2.0 scoreless frames, yielding only two hits while striking out one. Junior Eli Herrick went the final 2.0 frames of the ballgame, surrendering one earned run on two hits and one walk with two strikeouts across the effort.
Duke struck first for the second consecutive contest of the weekend, plating five runs in the fourth to gain a sizeable advantage. With one down in the inning, freshman Ethan Murray and sophomore Michael Rothenberg drew back-to-back walks to place a pair of runners on. Graduate student Kyle Gallagher dribbled a ball back to the pitcher in the next at-bat, with an errant throw to first base allowing Murray to score from second and cross the game’s first run.
The inning continued with a RBI double from sophomore Chris Crabtree followed by a RBI single from junior Erikson Nichols, resulting in a pair of runs. With runners on first and third, a wild pitch allowed the inning’s fourth run to cross. One out later, sophomore Joey Loperfido reached on an error by the second baseman, which allowed another run to score for Duke to make it a 5-0 ballgame.
Miami started to chip away at the deficit, adding single tallies in both the fourth and the fifth. With one out, Raymond Gill sent a home run to deep center field to place the Hurricanes in the scoring column. The Miami fifth inning began with a walk followed by a single to place runners on the corners. A sacrifice fly in the next at-bat brought across a second run for the Hurricanes to trim Duke’s lead to 5-2 after five innings of action.
The Blue Devils regained momentum with seven runs across the next three frames to cushion their margin, starting with single tallies in the sixth and seventh innings. Crabtree began the scoring sequence in the sixth with a one-out single up the middle. One out later, freshman RJ Schreck lined a double down the third base line to score Crabtree and push the lead to 6-2.
The Duke seventh began with a leadoff single up the middle from senior Kennie Taylor. After Rothenberg reached on a two-out walk, Gallagher knocked a single down the right field line to plate Taylor and make it a 7-2 contest heading into the stretch.
The Blue Devils put up their second five-run inning of the night in the eighth to extend their advantage to 12-2. The inning began with back-to-back walks from Nichols and Schreck, before Loperfido reached on a bunt single with an errant throw by the catcher allowing Nichols to score from second. Two outs later, back-to-back RBI singles from Murray and Rothberg resulted in two runs scored. After Gallagher continued the inning with a walk, Crabtree collected his third hit of the night with a two-run double down the left field line, which capped the inning’s scoring.
Miami added one run in the eighth as the scoring sequence began with a one-out walk. After a wild pitch allowed the runner to advance into scoring position, a single to left field scored one run for the Hurricanes to set the score at 12-3, the eventual final.
Crabtree led the offensive charge, recording a team-high three hits, including two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored. The duo of Loperfido and Gallagher also contributed multi-hit efforts, finishing with two hits apiece to add to their respective offensive totals.
Duke and Miami return to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for the rubber match s the Blue Devils go for the series win. The series finale is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch at Mark Light Field with coverage airing live on ACC Network Extra.
For more information on Duke baseball, follow the Blue Devils on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching for “DukeBaseball”. You can also find all-access coverage of all Duke athletic programs on SnapChat by searching for “dukeathletics”.