Joe Pedevillano turned in a career performance and Dillon Haviland pitched five innings of two-hit ball to propel Duke (14-4) to an 11-3 victory over visiting N.C. Central (1-15) yesterday afternoon.
Pedevillano, who has been a spot starter in the Blue Devil outfield the past two seasons, exploded at the plate Tuesday afternoon. The junior went 3-for-3 with five RBI, including a two-RBI double to right-center field in the eighth inning which glanced off the Eagle right fielder’s outstretched glove. Pedevillano also laced a frozen rope to right field in the fourth, capping off Duke’s six-run inning that pushed the score to 8-0.
The junior continues to impress at the plate and has now pushed his season average to a team-high .400 with a minimum of 25 at-bats.
“Joe’s taken advantage of his opportunities this year,” head coach Sean McNally said. “He’s a hard worker and can do a little bit of everything. He can run, is a really good defender out there and he’s got some pop. Today he swung it well and we hope he keeps it up.”
In addition to Pedevillano, sophomore Jeff Kremer and freshmen Chris Marconcini and Anthony D’Alessandro continue to impress at the plate. The three have anchored the middle of the Blue Devil lineup while Will Piwnica-Worms, who did not play Tuesday, struggles offensively with a .221 average and no home runs. On the day, the trio went a combined 6-for-9 and scored five runs.
“[Their production] has been really important. Those three guys were all unproven coming into the season... It has been nice to have four-to-five [other] guys in the middle of the order that have been hitting consistently all year. That’s certainly been helping us score.”
With the support of Duke’s offensive production and three untimely errors by N.C. Central, Haviland easily handled the Eagle hitters. Throwing an efficient 60 pitches, the lefty utilized a mid-80’s fastball topping out at 88 mph coupled with several off-speed pitches. With the lead securely intact, though, McNally chose to remove his promising freshman after he had picked up the victory.
“Dylan was the sharpest I’ve seen him pitch since he had elbow surgery in the fall,” McNally said. “We’ve brought him along slowly and he’s been primarily in a relief role, but he’s comfortable starting. I think he mixed his pitches well and there was a lot of progress today.”
Although the Eagles appeared overmatched throughout much of the game, especially given that typical Blue Devil starters Piwnica-Worms, Marcus Stroman and Dennis O’Grady got the day off, McNally stressed the importance of non-conference tune-up games to prepare his club for more challenging opponents. That starts tomorrow when Duke square off against 12-3 Charlotte, who earlier this year lost to No. 17 North Carolina in a hard fought 4-2 battle.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.