DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke baseball team scored the first nine runs of the game and cruised to an 11-2 victory over crosstown foe N.C. Central Wednesday night at the Durham Athletic Park.
An opportunistic Duke (21-17, 9-9 ACC) offense totaled 11 hits while taking advantage of 14 walks issued by the N.C. Central (15-22, 10-7 MEAC) pitching staff. Duke had the leadoff man aboard in eight of nine innings and scored multiple runs in four frames. Senior Jordan Betts drew a career-high five walks as seven different Blue Devils reached base via the free pass.
“I thought some really good individual performances,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “I thought [Andrew] Istler had a good start … pitched well. We got him out of there right where we wanted his pitch count to be. I really liked the outing by J.R. Holloway who came in the eighth and was very aggressive. I thought [Robert] Huber had a good night. I was very proud of David Perkins with the at bat coming off the bench. I thought there were a lot of positives. We played a good game defensively. We were opportunistic in terms of taking advantage of some of the walks and turning it into offense, which is something we talk about a lot.”
Redshirt junior Aaron Cohn doubled in the second, one of his three hits, and scored the first run of the game on a Ryan Deitrich RBI double. Cohn finished the night 3-for-5 with two runs scored, an RBI and a walk.
N.C. Central committed the first of three errors to start a Duke rally in the third, ultimately leading to a 4-0 Duke cushion in the third. Cohn, Chris Marconcini and Andy Perez each added an RBI in the frame to help the Blue Devil cause.
Three more Duke runs crossed home plate in the fourth. Back-to-back base hits from Deitrich and Reed Anthes began the inning, which was bolstered by another NCCU miscue as well as two walks and a hit batter.
Up 7-0, Duke plated a pair in the sixth on a Marconcini RBI single and a Matt Berezo walk with the bases loaded.
The Eagles scored their lone runs of the game in the bottom half. Carlos Ortiz laced a leadoff single and Simpson followed suite with a base hit of his own. Carter Williamson added an RBI base knock before Simpson scampered home on a wild pitch to account for the N.C. Central scoring.
Duke added its final runs of the game in the eighth as senior David Perkins drilled a two-run, pinch-hit home run over the wall in right field, his second of the season.
The Blue Devils utilized seven different pitchers with junior Andrew Istler (5-5) garnering the win. Istler pitched four scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out six. The Duke pitching corps did not walk a batter and combined for 11 strikeouts.
Duke travels to Virginia Tech this weekend to take on the Hokies in a three-game series at English Field April 18-20.