Duke Baseball: No. 1 Miami Claims Series Opener Over Blue Devils

DURHAM, N.C. – After Duke took an early lead, No. 1 Miami scored 13 unanswered runs to claim the series opener, 14-2, Friday evening at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Duke (19-16, 6-10 ACC) led 2-1 after three innings before Miami (28-4, 12-2) scored three runs in the fourth and three more in the six to stake a 7-2 advantage. The Hurricanes put the game firmly out of reach with a seven-run ninth.

Miami totaled 14 hits, went 9-for-18 with runners in scoring position and benefitted from 11 walks issued by Duke pitchers. Second baseman Johnny Ruiz reached base in all six of his plate appearances, registering two hits, four walks, four RBI and three runs scored. Right fielder Willie Abreau was 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored.

“You take the No. 1 team in the country and you give them 11 free passes, you’re giving them too much free offense,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “We know they’re a team that’s going to take a lot. They’re going to try and work in deep counts. You can use that to your advantage. We’ve got to too a better job with that.”

Freshman Jimmy Herron raised his team-leading batting average to .308 with a pair of singles. Sophomore Jack Laboksy also added two base hits, while classmate Michael Smiciklas reached base in three of his four plate appearances.

Miami began the scoring with a second-inning run courtesy of Abreu’s two-out RBI single. The Blue Devils then countered with two runs of their own in the bottom half. Following a Labosky base hit and Miami error, Smiciklas lined a two-run base knock up the middle, giving Duke a 2-1 advantage.

Miami erased Duke’s lead with three runs in both the fourth and sixth frames. Zack Collins drew his 40th walk of the season to start the fourth and Jacob Heyward followed with a double. Ruiz scored both with a double of his own, allowed Miami to regain a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the way.

Three walks – two with the bases loaded—and hit batter helped the Hurricanes extend the lead to 7-2 with a three-run sixth.

The Hurricanes busted the game open in the ninth, plating seven runs on five hits and four walks.

Duke’s Bailey Clark (3-4) suffered the loss after allowing four runs on four hits over three innings. Thomas Woodrey (4-2) picked up the win for Miami, pitching six innings while yielding two runs on six hits.

Right-hander Al Pesto pitched well out of the bullpen, retiring all six batters he faced with two strikeouts.

Duke and Miami reunite at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 16 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Blue Devil left-hander Trent Swart is set to take the mound opposite Hurricane lefty Michael Mediavillia.

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