DURHAM, N.C. – Maryland rightfielder Dan Benick scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th and Brett Cecil closed out the bottom half of the inning as the Terrapins defeated Duke, 5-4, on Friday night at Jack Coombs Field. The Blue Devils fall to 23-17 overall and 4-15 in the ACC while the Terrapins improve to 23-18 and 7-12, respectively.
Benick singled up the middle before advancing to second on a groundout by shortstop Dan Melvin to begin the top of the 11th. Benick then stole third and scored when the throw from catcher Matt Williams skipped under third baseman Brett Bartles’ glove and into left field, giving the Terrapins a 5-4 lead.
Duke took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Centerfielder Jimmy Gallagher lined a leadoff double into the gap in left center before advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt by rightfielder Jonathan Anderson. Two batters later, first baseman Nate Freiman dropped an RBI-double down the left field line to score Gallagher. Williams followed with an RBI-single to right center, driving in Freiman.
Maryland scored in the top of the third to make it a 2-1 ballgame. Second baseman Steve Braun sent a one-out double to center to begin the frame. Two batters later, Benick lined an RBI-double off the base of the wall in center, scoring Braun.
Bartles singled to right to start the bottom of the third. Freiman followed with a single through the left side and Williams added a bunt single to load the bases. Pitcher Alexander Hassan then lifted a sacrifice fly to center to bring in Bartles, giving the Blue Devils a 3-1 advantage.
The Terrapins grabbed a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth with a three-run inning. After third baseman Mike Murphy reached on an infield hit, catcher Chad Durakis lined an RBI-double to center, scoring Murphy. Designated hitter AJ Casario then turned on a 2-1 offering and sent a two-run homer to right center to give Maryland a one-run lead.
Melvin laced a one-out double down the right field line to begin the top of the seventh. After first baseman Gerry Spessard drew a walk, Melvin stole third and Spessard advanced to second on the throw. Murphy was then intentionally walked to load the bases. With the infield drawn in, Durakis sent a grounder to third where Bartles fielded the ball and threw out Melvin at the plate. Freshman Michael Seander then struck out Casario swinging on a 3-2 pitch to get out of a bases-loaded jam.
The Blue Devils tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth. Freiman was hit by a pitch to start the frame before moving to third on consecutive groundouts by Williams and Hassan. Maryland then brought in Cecil to face leftfielder Tim Sherlock but his first pitch sailed past Durakis, allowing Freiman to score the tying run.
Maryland threatened to take the lead in the top of the ninth. With Melvin on third and Spessard on second and one out in the inning, Murphy sent a hard-hit line drive but shortstop Gabriel Saade made a leaping catch before throwing to third for an inning-ending double play.
Cecil (5-3) picked up his fifth win of the season after holding the Blue Devils to one hit in 3.1 scoreless innings of relief. He fanned six batters without allowing a walk in the win.
Anderson (2-2) suffered his second loss of the year after Benick scored the go-ahead run on a Duke error in the top of the 11th. Freshman Michael Ness worked a scoreless inning of relief with a pair of strikeouts and Seander tossed 2.2 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Hassan struck out four Maryland batters in 5.1 innings of work.
Williams went 3-for-5 with an RBI to lead the Blue Devils at the plate. Freiman finished 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored, Gallagher was 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored and Sherlock went 2-for-5. Hassan added a hit and an RBI and Bartles had a hit and a run scored on the night.
Game two of the series will be tomorrow at 2 p.m. Senior right-hander Tony Bajoczky (7-2, 2.94 ERA) will face Maryland right-hander Ryan Moorer (3-2, 4.21 ERA) on Saturday.