April 2, 2011
DURHAM, N.C. – Duke (16-13, 3-8 ACC) took advantage of a passed ball in the seventh inning, and received a tremendous outing from its bullpen in a 4-3 victory over No. 6 Georgia Tech (22-6, 10-1 ACC) on Saturday afternoon at Durham Bulls Athletics Park.
The loss was the first for Georgia Tech in Atlantic Coast Conference play, and snapped a 10-game conference win streak for the Yellow Jackets.
“We didn’t play as good as we can today,” head coach Danny Hall said. “I thought Jed [Bradley] pitched okay, he gave us a chance to win, and we had a couple of miscues that gave them runs. We just have to play better.”
After putting runners on first and third with one out on a pair of singles by Angelo LaBruna and Michael Rosenfeld in the seventh inning, the Blue Devils broke a 3-3 tie after freshman catcher Zane Evans was unable to hold onto the pitch from Tech reliever Luke Bard that went to the back stop. LaBruna scored on the passed ball for the eventual game-winner.
Bard (1-1) fell for the first time this season with the loss.
Duke pitchers Ben Grisz and Marcus Stroman held Tech to just one hit in 3 1/3 innings of relief for starter Dennis O’Grady. Grisz (2-1) went 1 1/3 innings for the win, while Stroman recorded his first save of the season with five strikeouts over the final two frames.
“The flip side [of the poor defense] is that offensively, we didn’t do a whole lot,” Hall added. “I thought all three of their guys went out there and threw the ball pretty good. They kept us off-balance and we couldn’t muster much offense today. They had good breaking balls and threw them for strikes.
“We haven’t bunted very well and we haven’t situational hit very well. We have to do the little things better – put the ball in play and not strikeout so much.”
LaBruna’s run was one of two unearned runs allowed by the Jackets on the day. Duke scored its first run of the game on a throwing error by Evans in the third inning, as his attempt to catch Will Piwnica-Worms stealing third base bounced into the outfield.
The Blue Devils added another run on a RBI single to left field by David Perkins an inning later.
The Jackets had three doubles in the inning alone, and five overall for the game.
The Blue Devils would get one back, however, in bottom half of the frame on a single to right field by Anthony D’Alessandro off of Tech starter Jed Bradley.
Bradley did not record a decision after scattering three runs (two earned) on seven hits over six innings. The seven hits allowed were a season high for the junior left-hander.
“We still have a chance to win the series. We need Buck [Farmer] to go out and pitch a good game tomorrow. We need to play defense and we need to score some runs to give him support.”
The series concludes on Sunday, with first pitch at 1 p.m. at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.