DURHAM, N.C. – Duke bounced back from a 6-5, 10-inning loss to Wake Forest in game two to take the series finale 10-2 thanks to an eight-inning, 11-strikeout performance from sophomore Marcus Stroman on Sunday afternoon at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Game two of the series, which was halted in the middle of the 10th inning because of rain on Saturday, resumed at noon on Sunday. Wake Forest closer Michael Dimock retook the mound for the bottom of the 10th and worked around two Duke singles to strand men on second and third and preserve the 6-5 Wake Forest victory.
Shortly after the conclusion of that game, Stroman (3-4) took the mound in the series finale and worked his longest outing of the season while scattering just three hits and one run. Stroman matched a career high in strikeouts for the second start, recorded at least one punchout in every inning and lowered his season ERA to 2.86. The 5-9, 185-pound right-hander has now logged 89 strikeouts – and just 20 walks – in 63.0 innings this season and has allowed just three earned runs over his 17 career innings against Wake Forest.
Duke (24-28, 6-21 ACC) provided Stroman with some early run support, building him a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning when freshman David Perkins drove in two his three runs with a two-RBI double. The two-bagger was one of two hits on the day for Perkins, who also singled, stole second and scored on a base hit by Jordan Betts in the seventh inning. Betts also drove in three runs with a pair of singles in his final two at bats.
In his final home game, two-way starting pitcher Dennis O'Grady went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for the Blue Devils. O’Grady also struck out eight over seven innings on Saturday in his final home start and has solidified his spot as one of the top two-players in the ACC with a 5-3 record, a 4.00 ERA, a .287 batting average and 18 RBI.
After Duke jumped out on top 2-0, the Demon Deacons (22-27, 12-15 ACC) scored once in the sixth and appeared to score the tying run in the same inning on a sacrifice fly ball, but an appeal of third base after the play took the run away when the third base umpire ruled that the runner left the bag too early. From there, Duke scored again in the seventh go ahead 3-1 and then broke the game open with an eight-hit, seven-run eighth inning.
For the series, Duke freshman infielder Matt Berezo tagged five hits and hit .556 while starting two of the three games. Berezo was one of four Blue Devils with multiple hits on Sunday, joining O’Grady, Betts and Perkins. Chris Marconcini also had an RBI single to increase his team-leading RBI total to 38. Betts also eclipsed the 30-RBI mark on Sunday.
The win over the Demon Deacons marks the final home game of the year for the Blue Devils, who will play their final four regular season contests on the road. Duke plays at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday, May 17, and will then open a three-game series at Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., on May 19-21.
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