No. 11 Duke baseball batters Campbell as Boisvert pitches 4 scoreless innings, Miller slams home run

Macon Winslow was one of many standout Blue Devils against Campbell.
Macon Winslow was one of many standout Blue Devils against Campbell.

Facing off with the Camels in a battle on the bump, it was the Blue Devils who came out on top.

In what was anticipated as one of No. 11 Duke’s toughest midweek matchups of the season, a collective effort from the pitching staff paired with late-inning offensive firepower led the team to an 11-1 win against Campbell. This decisive victory comes off the tail of a tough series loss at now-No. 25 N.C. State. The win also marked a big milestone for head coach Chris Pollard, as it was the 357th of his Duke tenure, making him the second-winningest coach in program history. 

Just as was the case a week prior against Towson, starting pitcher David Boisvert was the centerpiece of an excellent night for the pitching staff. Boisvert was perfect, allowing zero baserunners throughout his four innings of work. The Charlotte native also tallied five strikeouts in his outing and needed only 45 pitches to down the 12 batters he faced.

“What he’s doing is really electric. He’s featuring a 94-95 mile-an-hour fastball that’s got heavy run and sink on it,” Pollard said. 

Boisvert’s lively fastball had batters off balance all night, getting them to repeatedly swing over the pitch. Pollard also highlighted how “[Boisvert] was able to feature the slider more.” The junior righty will look to continue solidifying his arsenal to induce swings and misses while also building back strength to eventually toss more innings each night out. He has thrown limited pitches — Tuesday was just his second start on the season — as he continues to bounce back from elbow surgery.

“I just got a great group of guys around me,” Boisvert said. “They make playing baseball really a lot of fun, and coming to practice and doing the hard stuff a lot easier.” 

Campbell throughout the season has flashed one of the nation’s more high-powered offenses. The team sits 20th nationally in runs scored and particularly excels at putting traffic on the basepaths, taking 13th nationally in on-base percentage, though it struggled to have an impact against the Blue Devils (18-7, 4-5 in the ACC)

“They came into tonight with opponents having given them just shy of 200 free bases from the mound,” Pollard said. “We allowed one free base tonight.” 

Boisvert’s work was backed by clean relief performances from Tim Noone, Gabriel Nard, Owen Proksch — who earned the win — and Jimmy Romano. They collectively allowed just four hits, only one good enough for extra bases. The staff notably limited Lawson Harrill, who entered the series with a 1.465 OPS, to an 0-for-4 evening at the plate. 

Duke’s fantastic defense must also be attributed to Macon Winslow’s work behind the dish paired with effective fielders. 

“I think it helps a lot when you have Macon back there who’s giving you three or four balls off everytime,” Boisvert said. “My strike zone is a lot bigger than a normal guy and also the defense speaks for itself. Those guys are spectacular.”

The Camels (17-7) scored their lone run in the top of the sixth. Small ball was what cracked the seal for them, as it was an infield single followed by a deep fly to right field that put runners on the corners for Payton Howard. Howard then executed a well-placed sacrifice bunt to drive one in. A key component of Campbell’s offensive struggles Tuesday night, however, was the injury and absence of superstar Grant Knipp. Knipp has tallied a staggering 1.749 OPS and 40 RBIs for the team this season that were sorely missed.

On the Blue Devils’ end, the bats were quiet through the first four innings as Campbell’s Cole Peschl posted a strong performance of his own. It wasn’t until the fifth when Duke was able to get a hold of him. Freshman Chase Krewson drew a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch, putting himself in position to score on a Zac Morris double down the right-field line.

With the score knotted at 1-1 heading into the seventh, it looked like this game between nationally elite offenses would be a pitcher’s duel all the way through. The Blue Devils’ bats objected. Devin Obee led off with a walk and a steal, after which the Camels responded by pulling Jeremy Wiegman and replacing him with Drew Siegner. Siegner never got a chance to settle in as Morris chopped a bouncing ball into the outfield, giving Obee a chance to use his speed and beat the throw at the plate. This left two runners on for Ben Miller, who drew a hitter’s count and got every bit of Siegner’s breaking ball. Miller knocked a no-doubter over the left field wall, 108 miles per hour off the bat to widen the lead to four.

Miller’s three-run shot was part of a stellar 3-of-4 performance on the day, while also having drawn a walk. The Penn graduate transfer continues what is one of the nation’s best offensive seasons so far, bumping his average to .444 and his RBI tally to 27 with Tuesday’s performance.

“He’s really aggressive,” Pollard said of Miller. “He goes up to the plate looking to hit and he’s just really good at ambushing pitches. When he gets a pitch he’s looking for he doesn’t miss it.” 

Morris and AJ Gracia put up standout performances in the batter’s box as well — Morris ended with three hits and two RBIs while Gracia also had two RBIs on two hits.

“I told our guys on Sunday that I really believe we are starting to round into the best version of ourselves. I think that we probably played our most complete game of the season tonight,” Pollard said. 

The schedule does not let up as Thursday sees Duke kick off a series at home against No. 8 Virginia.


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