Behind freshman Jamie Nunn’s dominant pitching performance, Appalachian State stretched the Blue Devils’ losing streak to seven games by winning 6-3 Tuesday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Mountaineers have now won 12 games in a row.
Nunn struck out eight batters and gave up only three hits and one unearned run in six innings of work.
“The starter did a good job. He threw two pitches for strikes, a fastball and a slider,” head coach Sean McNally said. “We just weren’t able to make an adjustment.”
Duke (7-12) also gave the starting nod to a freshman. Dalton Brown had only appeared in one game for Duke, recording two outs in a situational relief role against Campbell.
The freshman got into trouble early, surrendering a leadoff single to Hector Crespo and walking Daniel Kassouf. Back-to-back doubles by Tyler Tewell and Jeremy Dowdy left the Blue Devils in a three-run hole.
After Duke responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning, Brown recorded two consecutive shutout innings and allowed only one batter to reach base.
“We wanted him to throw it over and attack,” McNally said. “If we defend a little bit better we don’t give up any runs. It was a good positive start for him and definitely something he can build on.”
In the top of the fourth inning, Appalachian State (14-2) tagged Duke reliever Chase Bebout for three hits and a run that brought the score to 4-1.
The Mountaineers added to their lead again in the eighth. After giving up a leadoff double down the left field line, Duke’s David Putman came in to relieve Drew Van Orden. Kassouf welcomed Putman to the action by slamming a towering home run over the Blue Monster in left field. The long ball gave the Mountaineers a five-run cushion.
After being held to one run on four hits through seven innings, the Blue Devils’ bats finally showed some life in the bottom of the eighth. Duke loaded the bases and senior Will Piwnica-Worms hit a line drive directly at the rightfielder, but Reed Anthes was able to tag and beat the throw to home. Andy Perez then hit a double that scored D’Alessandro to make the score 6-3 heading into the ninth.
Duke rallied in the ninth to load the bases with only one out, and designated hitter Jeff Kremer was at the plate representing the winning run. The Mountaineers were able to hold on, though, as Kremer and McCabe both went down swinging to end the game.
“I think they just out-hit us,” Piwnica-Worms said. “Our pitching did well; six runs in the midweek isn’t anything our offense shouldn’t be able to overcome. We just didn’t get clutch hits when we needed to.”
The Blue Devils have lost seven games in a row heading into a three game series this weekend against No. 11 Miami at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
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