The Blue Devils had struggled to convert with runners in scoring position all game and needed a spark when right fielder Peter Zyla came to the plate.

They had one after the sophomore cleared the bases.

“I think I blacked out a little bit,” Zyla said after the game.

Zyla’s three-run triple with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning broke open a 2-2 game, highlighting the Blue Devils' 13-4 victory against Gardner-Webb Sunday in the second game of a doubleheader at Jack Coombs Stadium. Starter Trent Swart threw five scoreless innings and the home team added eight runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to sweep the Runnin' Bulldogs following a 4-1 victory earlier Sunday. 

“We got better as the day went on,” Duke head coach Chris Pollard said. “[The Runnin’ Bulldogs] were almost off the field right there with a 2-2 ballgame and had a chance to recapture the momentum, so to speak, and [Zyla’s triple] was a dagger.”

Zyla's hit followed a controversial walk of sophomore first baseman Justin Bellinger, who faced a 2-2 count with runners on first and second when home plate umpire Brian Kennedy called a third ball that drew the ire of the Gardner-Webb fans in attendance. Bellinger walked on the next pitch, setting up Zyla's triple.

The Alpharetta, Ga., native continued his hot hitting from earlier in the day—the sophomore went 2-for-3 in Sunday's first game—by powering a 1-0 fastball into the gap in right field. With the ball rolling all the way to the wall, freshmen Jimmy Herron and Chris Proctor scored easily, and as the relay throw came in, Bellinger slid in just before catcher Blair Huggins could apply the tag.

“I’m a good low-ball hitter, but I thought he hung it a little bit, and luckily it caught the gap,” Zyla said. “[I] kind of golfed it a little bit.”

The Runnin’ Bulldogs (31-18) responded facing a 5-2 deficit by opening up the top of the eighth inning with a walk and two base hits. A Collin Thacker single drove in one run, moved Justin to third base and resulted in sophomore closer Mitch Stallings relieving Kellen Urbon. The next batter, Patrick Graham, pulled Gardner-Webb to within one with a sacrifice fly.

Stallings preserved Duke's lead by inducing consecutive groundouts before the Blue Devils (27-20) exploded in the bottom half of the inning.

To start the inning, pinch-hitter Evan Dougherty singled, ultimately scoring after two stolen bases and a balk. During each game of the doubleheader, Duke attempted four stolen bases and managed successfully three times, despite only averaging one stolen base per game before the pair of games.

"We felt like it was a day where we could get our run game going," Pollard said. 

A string of seven hits in eights at-bats allowed Duke to open up a 12-4 lead, and finally, Dougherty once again came to the plate in the inning and hit an RBI triple. 

The Blue Devils opened the game with a one-run advantage thanks to a Cris Perez home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Swart also threw 65 pitches in five scoreless innings, notching four strikeouts and lowering his ERA to 3.60.

“That might have been Trent’s best start of the year, and we even got Trent out of there underneath his pitch count,” Pollard said. “So he’ll be fresh and ready for next Saturday [against Florida State].”

Although he showed improvement, Swart's start might not have even been the best Duke pitching performance of the day because of graduate student Brian McAfee's gem in the first game between the two teams.

McAfee tossed a complete game on just 90 pitches, allowing one run and five hits and striking out seven.

"McAfee’s been lights out for us most of the year, and today was no different," sophomore second baseman Max Miller said. "It’s awesome to play behind that in the first leg of a double header, especially knowing you’ve got a long day ahead of you."

After McAfee had retired the first nine Runnin’ Bulldogs, the Duke offense sprung to life with four runs in the bottom of the third inning. Zyla began the inning with a bunt single, eventually scoring after a Miller hit and Herron sacrifice fly.

Proctor then singled home Miller and Bellinger hit a sacrifice fly to plate Proctor before Smicklas brought home Labosky to give the Blue Devils a four-run lead.

Gardner-Webb’s best chance came in the top of the sixth inning, as Taylor Fisher and Tyler Best opened the frame with singles to bring the tying run to the plate. But McAfee induced a Kunz double play, followed by a Thacker fly out to right.

The Blue Devils are back in nonconference action Tuesday night against Longwood and Norfolk State Wednesday evening at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, before their second-to-last ACC series of the year against the Seminoles Friday through Sunday.