Duke Baseball: Blue Devils Even Series, Top #1 Hurricanes 12-5

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke scored nine runs over the first two innings and snapped No. 1 Miami’s 12-game winning streak with a 12-5 decision Saturday, April 16 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The win marked Duke’s first over a top-ranked team since defeating then-No. 1 North Carolina in March of 2009.

Duke (20-16, 7-10 ACC) amassed 16 hits, led by freshman Zack Kone who went 5-for-5 with 3 RBI, a triple and a home run, finishing a double short of the cycle.

“Kone was really good in all phases,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “He drove a ball down the right field line. He showed off his speed with the two infield hits. Showed off his power hitting the home run. What a ballgame.”

Kone was one of four Blue Devils to total two or more hits. Freshman Jimmy Herron was 3-for-5, while sophomore Jack Labosky and freshman Chris Proctor both went 2-for-4 on the day. The Blue Devils slugged three home runs, receiving solo shots from Kone, Labosky and Cris Perez.

Right fielder Willie Abreau did the bulk of the damage for the Hurricanes, accounting for all five of Miami’s RBI. Abreau belted a two-out, two-run single in the first and added a three-run homer in the sixth.

Duke got off to a slow start surrendering two first-inning runs. Abreau knocked in a pair after walks loaded the bases.

The Blue Devils answered with authority, claiming the lead with three runs in the bottom half. Herron and Proctor began the day with back-to-back singles. Justin Bellinger picked up an RBI double, Peter Zyla knocked a sacrifice fly and Kone added an RBI single to give Duke the lead, 3-2.

Six Duke runs crossed home plate on six second-inning hits, five of which came with two outs. Michael Smiciklas led off with a single before Miami starter Michael Mediavillia (6-1) retired the next two batters. Herron was then the first of six straight Blue Devils to reach base, singling for the second time. Proctor added a base hit and Labosky doubled down the line to knock in two. Following a Bellinger walk, Zyla and Kone both tripled, leaving Duke with a 9-2 advantage.

“That’s how you respond after a night like last night, especially after the top of the first when they scored the two runs and it looks like they’ve captured some momentum,” Pollard said. “To turn around to have the guts and the toughness to string together the quality at bats we strung together, then to put the big crooked number on the board in the second, it showed a lot.”

Mediavillia did not survive the second and exited the game after 1.2 innings. He allowed eight runs on eight hits in the loss.

Perez lifted his second home run of the season to lead off the third and Kone added his first career bomb with one out in the fourth.

“Our guys just put together great at bats,” Pollard added. “We did a really good job of keeping our foot on the gas pedal. We didn’t get complacent. We didn’t get content.”

Up 11-2, Duke surrendered three runs on Abreu’s sixth home run of the season.

The Blue Devils held the Hurricanes in check the rest of the way. Graduate student Trent Swart pitched the first 2.2 innings before giving way to Kellen Urbon (5-1). Urbon earned the win after pitching 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on two hits.

Labosky homered in the bottom of the eighth and also tossed the final two frames to close out the victory.

Duke and Miami meet in the series finale at 1 p.m., Sunday, April 17 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Blue Devil right-hander Brian McAfee takes the mound opposite Hurricane lefty Danny Garcia.

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