DURHAM, N.C. – Ohio’s seven
pitchers combined to hold Duke to three runs, and five batters record an RBI in
a 6-3 win over the Blue Devils on Tuesday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field.
The Bobcats (11-9) pitching staff
held Duke (15-8, 2-4 ACC) to seven hits and stranded 12 Duke runners on base,
as Brett Barber picked up his second win of the season with two innings of
relief. None of Ohio’s seven pitchers worked more than two innings, and the
strategy paid off as the Blue Devils failed to score more than three runs for
only the third time this season.
Ohio scored its six runs on eight
hits as five different players recorded an RBI. Bryan Barnes was the only
batter to record multiple hits on the day as he finished 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Duke starter Eric Pfisterer (1-2) held the Bobcats to five hits and three runs
over a season-long 6.1 innings, but took the loss when Duke’s offense managed
just two runs over the first eight innings.
The Blue Devils scored their
three runs from seven hits and had a chance to tie the game with the bases
loaded in the eighth inning, but closer Mark Paliotto worked out of the jam by
getting leadoff batter Joe Pedevillano to line out to left field for the final
out of the inning. Paliotto recorded the final four outs of the game and got a
four-run cushion to work with in the ninth after the Bobcats plated three
insurance runs in their last trip to the plate.
Duke sophomore Marcus Stroman
broke out with three hits and a pair of RBI and started off Duke’s
eighth-inning rally with a two-out double. Pinch hitter Dennis O'Grady followed
with an infield single, and pinch hitter Mark Tatera followed that with a walk
that loaded the bases, but Pedevillano hit a well-struck ball right at left
fielder Jensen Painter to leave all three runners on base.
Stroman and freshman Anthony
D'Alessandro recorded the only RBI for Duke, and both combined for five out of
seven hits. Stroman’s three-hit performance is the second of his career, and
his two RBI marked his fourth career multiple RBI game. Stroman also picked up
a stolen base and moved his total to four for the season. D’Alessandro finished
2-for-4 with two singles, a run scored and an RBI and has now reached base safely
in 21 consecutive games.
The Bobcats struck first in the
top half of the third inning from a one run single by Kory Burkhart that scored
Ethan Newton, who reached on a fielder’s choice and crossed the plate after a
steal of second base.
Ohio plated to more runs in the
top of the fourth, the first run came from a one run triple by Dan Ward that
allowed Trace Voshell to cross the plate after he reached with a leadoff walk.
Adam Gecewich picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Ward
from third as the Bobcats took an early 3-0 lead.
The Blue Devils answered in the
bottom of the fourth after being held scoreless through the first four innings.
Stroman plated the first run for Duke with an RBI single that scored
D’Alessandro after he started the inning off with a leadoff single, advanced to
second on a groundout then reached third on wild pitch.
Duke cut into the Bobcats’ two
run lead in the bottom half of the sixth to make the score 3-2. Stroman came
through again for the Blue Devils with his second RBI single that scored Jordan
Betts from third after Duke loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batsman.
The Bobcats picked up the final
three runs of the game in the top of the ninth inning on three hits, an error,
a walk and a hit batsman.
The Blue Devils’ comeback in the
ninth fell short as D'Alessandro drove in Duke’s final run of the game that
scored Marconcini after he reached base on a leadoff walk.
Up next, Duke will play a three
game series with cross-town rival and 18th-ranked North Carolina on March
25-27, in Chapel Hill, N.C. The first pitch for game one on Friday is at 3
p.m., game two on Saturday is set for 2 p.m. and the finale on Sunday is slated
for 1 p.m.
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