Duke’s offense carried them to a 16-5 blowout victory against Quinnipiac Tuesday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field. After scoring only eight runs in their past four games—three of which were losses—the Blue Devils piled up season-highs with 16 runs and 17 hits. Six starters recorded multiple hits for Duke, including a 3-for-4 day from redshirt junior Mike Rosenfeld.
“Sometimes when you've been scuffling a little bit offensively, it just happens this way where you break out offensively in a big way,” head coach Chris Pollard said. “It was good for everybody to get that monkey off our back and see us square up some balls and see them fall in.”
Duke (9-7) did most of its damage early in the game, scoring in each of the first four frames to quickly put the game out of reach. The Blue Devils tallied five runs in the bottom of the first after the Bobcats (1-9) turned consecutive two-out hits into a 1-0 lead in the top half of the inning. Duke led off the frame with five straight hits against Bobcat freshman Gregory Egan, who failed to record an out in his time on the mound.
Egan was lifted in favor of sophomore Joseph Scaglione after yielding a two-run homer to Chris Marconcini—his team-leading fifth dinger of the season—that put the Blue Devils ahead 4-1. Cristian Perez added an RBI double later in the inning against Scaglione to stretch the Duke lead to 5-1.
The Blue Devils continued to extend their lead in the second inning as left fielder Mark Lumpa smacked a one-out triple to right—his second three-bagger in as many trips to the plate—and later scampered home on a sacrifice fly by Marconcini. Duke led 6-1 at that point, but Quinnipiac refused to go down easily. The Bobcats responded in the top of the third with three more runs on RBI hits by Matthew Batton and Nic Civale to draw within two.
That was as close as the game would get, with the Blue Devils sending 10 men to the plate and tacking on six more runs in the bottom of third to push their lead to 12-4. Rosenfeld collected two of his four RBI’s in the inning with a two-run double, and center fielder Grant McCabe picked up two RBIs of his own with a two-out single.
Although the offense carried the bulk of the load for Duke, there were a number of noteworthy performances by the team's pitchers. With freshman starter Karl Blum unable to make it out of the fourth inning, Pollard was forced to turn to his bullpen to record the game's final 17 outs. Redshirt junior Dillon Haviland—who had pitched only one inning all season—earned his first victory of the year by striking out four Bobcats in 2.2 spotless innings in relief of Blum. Fellow southpaw Kevin Lewallyn had registered even less time on the mound this season—he had recorded just one out prior to today’s action—but the freshman showed what he is capable of with two perfect innings of his own.
“To me, in addition to all the great swings up and down our lineup and the really good approach offensively, the job that Dillon Haviland and Kevin Lewallyn out of the bullpen was very, very good,” Pollard said.
The Blue Devils don’t have much time to relax and enjoy this victory with Furman coming to Durham Wednesday for another afternoon game. Duke will host Notre Dame this weekend—the teams’ first meetings as ACC opponents—and Pollard knows the importance of gaining momentum against non-conference opponents before diving into the rigors of conference play.
“Once you get into conference play, it's real important when you come out in these midweek games,” Pollard said. “You have the type of energy day in and day out that you need to be able to sustain to carry over into the weekend. That's something I thought we had to work out a little bit today.”