All it took was one big inning to propel the Blue Devils to their seventh win in a row.
Duke continued its current hot streak Friday night, defeating Wake Forest 5-2 at Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Park. The Blue Devils used a four-run fifth inning to overcome a 2-1 deficit and maintain their winning streak—they have now won seven in a row and nine of their last 10 games.
The first big blow in the game-changing fifth frame for Duke (26-17, 13-9 in the ACC) came from redshirt senior Ryan Deitrich. With catcher Mike Rosenfeld on first, Deitrich hammered a full count offering from Demon Deacon starter Jack Fischer over the left-center field wall for his third dinger of the season, putting Duke ahead 3-2. The left fielder came into the game with just one hit in his last 14 at-bats, but burst out of his slump with a 2-for-3 day and three RBIs.
The Blue Devils refused to take their foot off the gas pedal, plating two more runs in the fifth inning to push their lead to 5-2. Duke strung three straight hits together with two outs and nobody on, highlighted by a two-RBI double from senior Jordan Betts.
Senior right-hander Drew Van Orden (4-3) picked up the win for the Blue Devils and contributed seven solid innings on the mound, allowing just one earned run and striking out six. After a rough start in which he allowed runs in each of the first two innings, Van Orden put up five zeroes in a row, keeping his team in the game until the offense was able to break through.
The pitching staff has been the key to this extended run of success for Duke, and Friday was no different. Junior Andrew Istler and sophomore Nick Hendrix came on in relief of van Orden and sealed the win with two spotless innings, with Hendrix picking up his second save of the season. Blue Devil pitchers have now allowed two runs or fewer five times during their current seven-game streak, lowering the team ERA to 2.83.
Duke returns to the diamond Saturday afternoon for a 4 p.m. start against the Demon Deacons (26-19, 12-10). The Blue Devils will send left-hander Trent Swart (3-1) to the mound and Wake Forest will counter with right-hander Garrett Kelly (1-1).