Pirates' hot bats doom Blue Devils in thrashing

Following a 19-5 beating at the hands of East Carolina last week, the Blue Devils (4-7) once again suffered a double-digit defeat to the Pirates, losing, 17-4, Wednesday afternoon.

East Carolina (8-3) was already leading 3-0 entering the fourth after a two-run first inning and a single run in the third. The Pirates five-run performance in the bottom of the inning ran the score up to a crippling 8-0 lead.

After his lead off walk to first, Pirate Ryan Tousley advanced to third on a single. Despite a diving line-drive catch by right fielder Tim Sherlock for Duke's first out, Tousley tagged up and crossed home plate for East Carolina's first run of the inning.

Then Jimmy Saris, who entered the game part way through the fourth in relief of Duke starter Jim Perry, walked a batter and hit the next two, loading the bases for powerhouse hitter Jake Smith.

Smith did not disappoint, pounding a grand slam out of Clark-LeClair Stadium on a 1-1 pitch to bring the score to 8-0. Singlehandedly, Smith was involved in eight of the Pirates 17 runs, registering a career-high six RBIs, while going 2-for-4 at the plate and scoring two runs.

Duke tried to mount a comeback, however, scoring two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to come within four.

Blue Devil shortstop Brett Bartles laced a single to left field to start off the sixth, and advanced to third on two subsequent groundouts. Squeezing home on a passed ball, Bartles finally put Duke on the board. An RBI-triple down the right field line by Adam Murray scored Javier Socorro to cap the scoring at two runs.

Duke continued its hitting in the seventh. Jonathan Anderson, who went 3-for-3 from the plate, connected for a lead-off single. Like Murray in the sixth, Sherlock drove Anderson home on an RBI-triple and later crossed the plate himself off a Bartles single, bringing the score to 8-4.

Four runs was the closest the Blue Devils would get, however, as the Pirates rallied for a nine-run eighth inning to seal the victory and cap the score at 17-4.

Despite the score, the Blue Devils did not statistically appear to struggle at the plate. Duke recorded 10 hits as a team to East Carolina's 12, but was not able to manufacture runs.

Blue Devil head coach Sean McNally declined to comment for this story.


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