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Blue Devils continue to roll in series sweep

Duke continued its non-conference dominance as the Blue Devils swept Holy Cross this weekend in a three-game series at Jack Coombs Field.

After winning both games in Saturday's doubleheader 13-1 and 10-7, respectively, Duke (13-1) returned to take care of business with a 6-5 victory over the Crusaders (1-5) Sunday.

"Good series for us-[we're] obviously really excited to win three games," head coach Sean McNally said. "If you look up and down the lineup, you're seeing a lot of guys responsible for that collective success."

Duke's offense came out strong Sunday, building a 5-3 lead in the fourth inning before hitting a tight spot in the top of the sixth.

After the Crusaders knocked in two runs to tie the score at five, the Blue Devils brought in reliever Kyle Butler to close out the inning. With the go-ahead run on first, Butler forced Crusader batter Joe Moore to hit into a double play to get Duke out of the inning. After singling to left to start off the seventh, Ryan McCurdy advanced to second on a passed ball and then scored from second on another passed ball for Duke's go-ahead, and ultimately, game-winning run.

Butler (1-0), a walk-on sophomore who worked as a team manager for most of his freshman year, earned his first career win Sunday.

"Our pitching was solid all the way through, and our catchers were amazing behind the plate," Butler said. "It feels amazing from where I came from as a walk-on. I didn't know if I was ever even going to play college baseball, and to get out here and be able to contribute after spending a year and a half on the team-it feels great."

In the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, the Blue Devils set the tone right off the bat, jumping out to a commanding five-run lead in the first inning. With 20 team hits, Duke steadily increased its lead to 13-0 before the Crusaders drove in one run in the eighth to narrowly avoid being shut out.

Holy Cross, however, took an early 5-0 lead in Saturday's second game.

Duke battled back with a combined three runs in the fifth and sixth and seven runs in the seventh. The Blue Devils played small-ball and came through with timely, two-out hits to manufacture four runs before freshman Gabriel Saade topped off scoring with the first home run of his career-a three-run shot to left.

"We kept on fighting when we were down in the second game," Saade said.

Finishing off the non-conference stretch of their season this week, the Blue Devils hope to continue their winning ways against ACC opponents.

"We're tremendously excited about how we've played to this point," McNally said. "We're just going to go one day at a time, come out Tuesday, get prepared to play, continue to play well and take it from there."


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