DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke baseball team scored eight runs over the first three innings and never looked back en route to a 9-1 victory over crosstown foe N.C. Central Tuesday evening at Jack Coombs Field.
Duke (18-16, 7-8 ACC) used nine pitchers in the contest with junior Sarkis Ohanian ultimately earning the victory. Ohanian tossed 2.1 hitless innings, striking out five of the seven batters he faced including four straight to end his outing. In total the Blue Devil staff turned in a dominant performance, scattering six hits while walking one batter and striking out 14.
Junior Andy Perez reached base in three of his four plate appearances, scored two runs and notched an RBI to pace a Duke offense which totaled 10 hits. Redshirt junior Chris Marconcini went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, bringing his season total to a team-leading 30 runs driven in.
“I thought our offensive approach was very good in the first three innings,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “It was good to see us have some good at bats against a left-handed pitcher. We had some good two-strike at bats against him. We were very good with our situational hitting as far as moving runners and scoring guys. We got a lot of guys work tonight, which was the plan. I especially want to single out Sarkis Ohanian. He was lights out.”
Duke wasted little time plating the game’s initial, breaking a scoreless tie in the bottom of the first. Redshirt junior Aaron Cohn hit a ball up the middle that a diving NCCU shortstop Zach Lee was unable to corral and would go on to score on a Marconcini RBI base hit.
N.C. Central (14-18-1) tallied its lone run of the game in the second to briefly tie the score at one-all. Christian Triplett and Bryant Battle led off with back-to-back singles before Duke starter Kevin Lewallyn induced the double play. With two out, Jared Kehagis dropped a soft line drive into centerfield, scoring Triplett from third.
Duke’s pitching would close the door the rest of the way as the Blue Devils did not allow another NCCU base hit until the top of the eighth.
Redshirt senior Ryan Deitrich was hit by a pitch to ignite a three-run Duke second inning. Perez doubled home Deitrich before coming home on a wild pitch after a Kenny Koplove base knock. Koplove would score the inning’s final run on a sacrifice fly from senior Mike Rosenfeld.
Four more Blue Devils runs crossed the plate in the third, bringing the Duke advantage to 8-1. Koplove and senior David Perkins added a sacrifice fly each, while Perez lined a two-run single with two outs to give Duke a sizeable lead.
Duke scored its final run in the seventh after senior Matt Berezo singled and later came home on a double play ball.
N.C. Central’s Andrew Wilson (1-3) took the loss, surrendering seven runs on six hits over 2.1 innings of work.
Duke returns to action this weekend, taking on NC State in a three-game series Friday-Sunday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.