DAVIDSON, N.C. - Will Piwnica-Worms hit three doubles and drove in three runs, and Jake Lemmerman added a ninth-inning home run to give Duke a 6-2 road win over Davidson at Wilson Field.
Piwnica-Worms doubled in each of his first three at bats and drove in three runs in the first three innings. Then with a slim 4-2 lead in the ninth inning, Lemmerman crushed his fourth home run of the season off of Davidson closer Andy Bass to seal Duke's 10th straight non-conference victory.
The combined five RBI from Piwnica-Worms and Lemmerman backed a solid pitching performance from freshman starter Chase Bebout (2-0), who threw five innings as Duke won its third straight game with Bebout on the mound. A 6-6, 210 pound right-hander, Bebout gave up just two hits and one run before Duke's bullpen took over and gave up just one run over the remainder of the game. Senior Jonathan Foreman and redshirt-junior Michael Seander each threw a scoreless inning in relief, while sophomore Ben Grisz got the final five outs for his second save of the season.
Sophomore outfielder Joe Pedevillano hit leadoff for the first time in his career and drew two walks while scoring two runs. Pedevillano also picked up his team-leading third outfield assist when caught a potential sacrifice fly in right field and threw out Danny Weiss at the plate for a double play.
Freshman Mike Carroll also added an RBI with a pinch-hit triple in the eighth inning as the Blue Devils (13-7, 2-4 ACC) knocked six of their nine hits for extra bases.
Duke held Davidson's five through nine hitters hitless as they went a combined 0-for-16. The Wildcats (13-8) managed just four hits in the game.
Despite stealing three bases, however, Duke saw a streak of 20 consecutive stolen bases without being caught come to an end when freshman Marcus Stroman - who was 7-for-7 on the base paths heading into the game - was caught trying to take third base in the second inning. Duke still ranks among the top three in the ACC with an 82 percent success rate on the base paths.
Duke took an early 2-0 lead on a two-run double by Piwnica-Worms in the top of the first. Pedevillano and Ryan McCurdy set the table from the top of the lineup as they both reached base and moved into scoring position on a double steal. Piwnica-Worms then came to the plate with two outs and runners on second and third and laced a ground ball down the first base line that drove in both runs. Piwnica-Worms took two bases on the hit and was awarded another when Davidson right fielder Sam Payne had trouble fielding the grounder. Piwnica-Worms would stay at third, however, as Davidson starter Chris Lamb got Brian Litwin to line out to second base for the third out.
Bebout picked up two strikeouts in his first inning and got another in the second. He ran into some control issues in the second and walked the bases loaded, but got bailed out of the jam by Pedevillano on a potential sacrifice fly. With the bases loaded and one out, Jake Berman lifted a fly ball into right field where Pedevillano charged in and caught it. Danny Weiss, who drew a leadoff walk to start the inning, took off from third base on the catch, but was gunned down by at least two steps when Pedevillano fired a one-hop strike to McCurdy at the plate. The outfield assist was the team-leading third of the season by Pedevillano.
Piwnica-Worms came through with another two-out RBI double in the top of the third inning to put Duke on top 3-0. With two strikes and Jeremy Gould on second base, Piwnica-Worms fought off an inside pitch and fisted it into right field. He took a hard turn rounding first base and never slowed down on the way to his second double in as many at bats.
Davidson put its first run on the board in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly from Cerbie that cut the deficit to 3-1. Payne scored on the fly ball after starting the scoring sequence with a one-out triple down the right field line.
The Blue Devils tried to use another double from Piwnica-Worms - his third of the game - to scratch across another run in the top of the fifth, but had that opportunity spoiled by Berman and Barna. Piwnica-Worms stepped to the plate again with two outs and a runner on first and knocked his double into left field where Berman dove for it, but could not hold on to the ball. Lemmerman, who was on first, reached third and headed to the plate, but was beat by the relay throw from Berman to Barna.
Bebout settled down after allowing a run in the bottom of the third and retired six straight in the fourth and fifth. He collected his fourth strikeout of the game during that span while keeping Duke's slim two-run lead in hand.
Duke went to its bullpen in the sixth innings and brought in Foreman, who pitched a scoreless sixth, and Seander, who did the same in the seventh. McCurdy caught his second runner stealing of the game in the seventh, firing a strike down to second base in time to nab shortstop Michael Zeblo.
Carroll came into the game with one out in the top of the eight and came through with an RBI pinch-hit triple to extend Duke's lead to 4-1. Duke had a shot to extend that lead even more with Carroll on third and one out on the board, but Davidson reliever Andy Bass entered the game and used just one pitch to end the game. Bass got Brady to pop up an attempted squeeze bunt, caught it himself and then fired back to third base in time to complete the inning-ending double play.
The Wildcats took advantage of another Duke pitching change in the bottom of the eighth, but came away with just one run after Grisz struck out two straight batters with men in scoring position. Gould took the mound to start the inning and put two men on with one out, which prompted Grisz to enter the game. Grisz hit the first batter he saw, but struck out the next for the second out. A passed ball that escaped the mitt of McCurdy allowed one run to score, but Grisz responded by striking out Zeblo with men on second and third for the final out.
Lemmerman gave Duke some breathing room in the top of the ninth with a two-run homer that increased the lead to 6-2. With an 0-1 count, Lemmerman took an outside fastball from Bass and deposited it well over the left-center field wall. The homer came with two outs against a Davidson closer who entered the game with just one extra-base hit allowed all season.
Grisz would shut down the Wildcats one last time in the ninth to lock up Duke's 10th straight non-conference victory. Grisz also notched his second save of the season with 1.2 innings of scoreless relif.
Duke will resume ACC play this weekend with a three-game set against Boston College on March 26-28 in Chestnut Hill, Mass. First pitch for game one of the series on Friday is slated for 2:30 p.m.
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