DURHAM, N.C. – Junior right-hander Robert Huber threw his second complete game shutout in as many starts to lead the Duke baseball team to a series-clinching 3-0 win over No. 15 Georgia Tech Sunday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field. Huber also tossed nine scoreless innings in Duke’s 6-0 win over Boston College this past Sunday.
Facing one of the top offenses in college baseball, Huber (5-2) scattered five hits while striking out seven batters. The Plano, Texas, native had at least one strikeout in five innings and induced 12 fly ball outs as the Blue Devils blanked the Yellow Jackets for the second time this weekend. Georgia was the last team to shut out Georgia Tech twice in the same series as the Bulldogs recorded 3-0 and 5-0 wins over the Yellow Jackets March 14 and 15, 1955.
“What do you say … second straight shutout,” added head coach Chris Pollard. “He did it in a very similar way to the Boston College game. He had a few more strikeouts in this ball game, but one walk and really just attacked with his fastball. He did a good job of recognizing that he could have success with his fastball and just kept throwing it. When you do that, it’s just a good job of recognizing swing to swing.”
Georgia Tech (23-9, 9-6 ACC) left seven runners on base for the game and had a man in scoring position in four innings, but Huber was able to emerge unscathed on each occasion. With a runner on third and one out, the Duke righty induced two straight ground balls to escape the seventh before getting a double play ball to end the eighth. Huber was perfect in the ninth, needing just seven pitches to retire the Yellow Jackets in order.
“It feels good,” Huber said. “It feels good to win two Sundays in a row more importantly. Everything was working off of my fastball today. They squared up a couple balls, but everything was off my fastball, and when I needed it I threw my changeup.”
Georgia Tech entered the weekend as one of the nation’s top offenses, leading the country in batting average (.345), slugging percentage (.513) and home runs per game (1.07). The Blue Devils held the Yellow Jackets to a season-low two runs over the three-game series. Prior to facing Duke, Georgia Tech averaged 24.43 runs per weekend series and had scored at least 18 runs in each of its three-game sets.
The Duke offense got off to a quick start, triggered by an Andy Perez leadoff triple in the bottom of the first. Senior Jeff Kremer proceeded to drive in his 15th RBI of the season with a sac fly to left, giving Duke the early 1-0 advantage. The Blue Devils loaded the bases with one out in the first, but Georgia Tech starter Cole Pitts (4-3) was able to work out of the jam. Pitts would ultimately take the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits over five innings of work.
The Blue Devils kept at it in the second, plating a second run to go on top 2-0. Sophomore Reed Anthes began the frame with a single and advanced to second on a Matt Berezo sac bunt. Perez then belted his second triple in as many at bats, giving Duke the two-run advantage.
Duke (19-14, 8-7 ACC) added an insurance run in the sixth on an Anthes RBI single. Junior Mark Lumpa, who finished the weekend 5-for-9 at the plate, started the inning with a single and scored on Anthes’ base hit.
“I can’t say enough good things about Mark Lumpa and the job that he did,” Pollard said. “That’s the reason we moved him up in the lineup because he was giving such good at bats. Credit to Mark, he’s been giving good at bats since the beginning of the year. He didn’t have a lot to show for it early in the year. He hit a lot of balls hard right at people and now the balls are starting to fall for him.”
The Blue Devils wrap up their current nine-game home stand with a pair of midweek games at Jack Coombs Field. Duke takes on UNC Greensboro Tuesday at 6 p.m., before facing N.C. Central Wednesday at 6 p.m.
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