After bringing the game into extra innings against Elon last night, the Duke baseball team fell to the Phoenix 9-8 after it was unable to match Elon's extra-inning runs.
Duke started the game with a 2-0 lead on a home run by first baseman Tim Layden. The junior, who has had eight RBI in his last two games, hit another homerun to start off the seventh.
"It's always good to get two runs early," Layden said. "However, we didn't take advantage of the momentum."
After a two-out error in the top of the fourth, Elon centerfielder Evan Tartagalia doubled to right for two RBIs that gave Elon the 4-2 lead.
"We had trouble with the basic fundamentals," head coach Bill Hillier said. "We made three errors today. We can't do that."
After Elon increased its lead to 5-2, Duke scored twice more in the botton of the sixth to come within one. The first run came on an Adam Loftin single to right center. Bryan Smith then scored on a wild pitch with one out for the Blue Devils.
Both squads put runs on the board in the seventh. Duke opened the inning with the second Layden home run and later scored on a Brian Hernandez single, allowing Corey Whiting to cross the plate. Elon scored a run in the seventh and another in the eighth to gain a 7-6 edge at the end of eight innings.
In the bottom of the ninth, Layden scored on a wild pitch to send the game into extra innings.
"We kept battling back," said Hillier, whose team gave up 16 hits during the first nine innings. "[However] I was not pleased with the defense and some of the pitching."
In the top of the tenth, Elon got a hit but left two men on without scoring. Duke left the bases full after Michael Golom popped out to shortstop to end the inning.
The Phoenix regained the lead with two runs in the top of the eleventh. Leftfielder Grant Rembert led off the inning with a double down the left field line. He advanced to third on a leftfielder error. Elon scored two runs on a double by designated hitter Tyler Stevens to make the score 9-7.
Duke was able to score one run in the bottom of the eleventh after Whiting tripled to start off the inning. Despite a single to shortstop by John Berger and a walk by Lee Lawrence, Duke was unable to capitalize on the two-on one-out situation, as Jonathan Anderson hit into a double play to end the game.
While the Blue Devils recognized that Elon was a competitive team, they did not play with the spirit they needed to, according to Layden.
"I was expecting a lot more fire and intensity," Layden said.
Hillier agreed that Duke underestimated its competition.
"They are an ACC-type team," Hillier said, noting that Elon won 34 games last season.
Following a successful weekend against Navy, Duke gained a confidence that it should not necessarily have had going into last night's game.
"We were 2-0, and thought things would roll into place [against Elon]," Layden said. "We took things for granted."
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