DURHAM – A three-run eighth inning separated Duke and Virginia Tech as the Blue Devils won the series against the Hokies with a 4-1 win on Saturday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field.
A 1-1 stalemate after the fifth inning, Duke (23-20, 12-17 ACC) plated three runs in the eighth inning to pull away. Senior Joey Loperfido and junior RJ Schreck led Duke at the plate, each recording two hits.
Junior Cooper Stinson started on the bump for Duke. The 6-6 right-hander allowed one run on six hits and two walks in six innings pitched. Stinson, a native of Peachtree Corners, Ga., also recorded four strikeouts in his time on the mound.
Virginia Tech (27-19, 16-16 ACC) threatened in the first inning, loading the bases with nobody out but Stinson was able to get out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play by graduate student Peter Matt as he reeled in a fly ball to right field before firing it home to beat the runner tagging up from third.
Duke would score in the bottom frame as junior Ethan Murray recorded a sacrifice fly to score Loperfido who roped a triple to center field to lead off the inning. The Hokies tied the game in the fifth inning, 1-1.
The Blue Devils used another strong eighth inning for the second consecutive game to pull away from the Hokies. Duke scored three runs on four hits to take a 4-1 advantage. Three consecutive singles from Loperfido, Murray and Schreck scored a run to start the inning before senior Michael Rothenberg scorched a two-run single through the left side.
Redshirt sophomore Jimmy Loper took the mound in relief in the seventh inning, recording two scoreless frames on four hits and a strikeout. Loper earned the win for the second consecutive game in the series and improve to 2-1 on the year.
Closer Marcus Johnson finished the game for the Blue Devils by pitching a scoreless ninth inning. The Fontana, Calif., native earned his fourth save of the season.
Duke celebrates Senior Day on Sunday prior to the last game of the series with Virginia Tech as it honors 14 graduates. First pitch is scheduled 1 p.m. for game two of the series.
- Senior Chris Crabtree extended his on-base streak to 13 games.
- Loperfido recorded a hit in his eighth-consecutive game.