CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Jarrett Parker went 4-for-6 with a grand slam and five RBI to back a seven-inning, one-run start from Robert Morey that led No. 11 Virginia to a 12-1 series-clinching win over Duke Sunday afternoon at Davenport Field.
Parker crossed the plate three times and broke the game open with a seventh-inning grand slam that was the second homer of the game for Virginia (37-10-1, 15-9-1 ACC) and the Cavaliers’ sixth long ball of the series. Parker was one of three Cavaliers with multiple RBI, joining John Hicks, who hit a three-run homer, and Dan Grovatt, who drove in two runs. Their offense provided plenty of support for Morey, who held Duke (32-20, 13-14 ACC) to four hits and one earned run over 7.0 complete innings.
Morey gave up his only run on a sacrifice fly from Duke freshman Will Piwnica-Worms in the second inning. He followed by shutting out the Blue Devils over his final five frames before relievers Robert Poutier and Brad Grove took over and extended the scoreless streak through the final two innings.
Virginia outhit Duke 12-4 in the game, thanks in part to a 3-for-3 game from second baseman Keith Werman, who reached base in all five of plate appearances. Werman singled three times, scored twice and drew a pair of walks from the nine-spot in the batting order.
Duke got a 3-for-4 effort from junior Jeremy Gould, who doubled twice and extended his team-leading hit streak to 15 games. That was the lone offensive highlight for the Blue Devils, however, whose only other hit came from senior catcher Matt Williams. Williams had a hit in every game of the series and took over the Duke batting average lead in the process.
The Cavaliers tagged four hits off of starter Jonathan Foreman (2-2), who pitched 2.1 innings and took the loss. Reliever Will Currier held Virginia at bay for three innings and gave up just one hit, but was credited with three runs - two earned - after he left the game in the sixth. Relievers Kyle Butler and David Putman had the most success against Virginia late in the game as they combined to get the final five outs while combining for just one hit and a walk.
Morey fired six straight balls to open the game, walking Jake Lemmerman in the process, but got back on track after a meeting on the mound with his pitching coach. The leadoff walk did little damage after the meeting, as Morey got Williams and three-hitter Nate Freiman to fly out to the warning track for the first two outs. Catcher Franco Valdes then caught Lemmerman stealing second base to end the inning. Lemmerman entered the game a perfect 13-for-13 stealing bases before being caught by Valdes for his first caught stealing since May 13, 2008.
Virginia put three runners on base in the bottom of the first, but Foreman limited the damage to just one run after retiring three of the last four batters he faced to strand two men on base. Following a leadoff single from Parker and a walk to Phil Gosselin, the Cavaliers sacrificed an out to move both runners into scoring position with a sac bunt. The Blue Devils were then forced to concede a run to Parker, who scored from third on a groundout to the right side by Grovatt, but held Gosselin at third base when Hicks flied out to right field for the final out. After throwing eight of his first nine pitches out of the strike zone to start the inning, Foreman settled down and put six of his next 11 pitches in for strikes.
Duke tied the game up quickly on a sacrifice fly from Piwnica-Worms that followed a leadoff double by Gould. Gould opened the inning by dropping his double down the right field line and moved over to third on a groundout to the right side by Alex Hassan. Piwnica-Worms then came to the plate and roped the first pitch he saw into deep center field, which gave Gould just enough time to tag up from third.
The game was not tied at 1-1 for long, however, as Hicks mashed a three-run homer in the bottom of the third to reclaim a Virginia lead at 4-1. Hicks’ long ball cleared the left field wall and scored Steven Proscia, who walked, and Grovatt, who reached on a Duke fielding error. The long ball signaled the end of the game for Foreman, who handed the ball over to Currier. Currier used just five pitches to get the final two outs of the inning, three of which he used to strike out Valdes swinging.
Duke was on the verge of putting together a rally against Morey in the top of the fourth, but had it shut down on an inning-ending double play. Williams and Gould both singled in the inning, but got no further than second when Morey got Hassan to roll a ground ball to Proscia, who fielded the ball at third and fired the ball around the horn for the double play.
Despite a leadoff single by Werman, Currier got through a scoreless fourth inning to keep Virginia’s lead at 4-1. Currier retired the next two batters following Werman’s single, but then found himself in a jam when Werman stole second and advanced to third on an ensuing throwing error. With Werman just 90 feet from the plate, Danny Hultzen ripped a line drive to the left field gap that left fielder Joe Pedevillano was able to chase down and catch on the run for the third out.
Morey, meanwhile, put up his third straight zero on the board after retiring the side in order in the fifth. Morey had surrendered just three hits through his first five innings of work while allowing Duke’s only run to score on a sacrifice fly ball. With four strikeouts during that span, Morey had thrown 68 pitches heading into the sixth inning.
Morey plunked third baseman Ryan McCurdy to start the sixth inning, giving the junior third baseman his 16th HBP of the season which tied him for the ACC lead in the category. Duke could do little to take advantage of the leadoff runner, however, as Morey sat down Duke’s next three hitters to keep the Blue Devils without a hit for the second straight inning.
Two walks, a double from Parker and a passed ball allowed Virginia to tack on three more runs in the sixth and go ahead 7-1. Two of the three runs were charged as earned to Currier after Parker sent in the first with a double to the right side that got by Gould. Parker reached second on the play and was soon joined by Gosselin, who drew a walk. Currier was then pulled in favor of left-handed senior Tim Sherlock, who gave up a Hultzen single to left field that plated Parker and a sacrifice fly to Grovatt that sent in Gosselin.
Parker broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh with a grand slam that started a five-run inning that ran Virginia’s lead to 12-1. Parker’s long ball followed a walk and consecutive singles from Valdes and Werman and came off of freshman reliever Ben Grisz, who entered the game to start the inning. Grisz gave up two more singles to Gosselin and Hultzen before he was relieved by Butler, who inherited the runners on first and second with no outs. Butler came in to face Grovatt, who welcomed him with a single to right field that loaded the bases for Proscia, who hit into a fielder’s choice that scored a run. That would be the last run of the game for Virginia, as Butler got Hicks to pop up to shortstop in his second at bat of the inning.
Putman entered the game in the ninth for Duke and opened the inning by striking out pinch hitter Will Campbell. He then worked around a walk to finish off the inning by retiring two of the final three batters he faced. The outing was the second straight scoreless relief appearance for Putman.
Duke now has just four games remaining in the regular season, all of which are at home at Jack Coombs Field. Duke will play the first of those against Liberty at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12, before the Blue Devils host No. 9 Georgia Tech for a three-game set on May 14-16. The home series against the Yellow Jackets will feature Senior Day and will be Duke’s final series before the ACC Tournament begins on May 20-24.
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