Duke strolls past NCCU 11-2 in crosstown baseball showdown
Duke capitalized on three N.C. Central errors and turned other miscues by the Eagles into runs and won 11-2 at Durham Athletic Park on Wednesday.
“Too many free bases,” NCCU coach Jim Koerner said. “I think we gave up 16 free bases (Wednesday) between errors and walks … and wild pitches. You’re just not going to beat good teams by giving up that many free bases.”
NCCU walked 13 batters.
“We were opportunistic in terms of taking advantage of some of the walks and turning it into offense, which is something we talk about a lot,” Duke coach Chris Pollard said.
NCCU starting pitcher Eric Kimber (2-2) walked three batters, including the free pass to first base he allowed in the fourth inning and followed by hitting a Blue Devil to bring another runner across home plate.
Koerner replaced Kimber, a right-hander, with righty Grant Cain, who toed the rubber with the bases loaded and one out, NCCU trailing 7-0.
Cain was able to get back to the dugout without Duke doing any more damage.
But NCCU had a lot of ground to make up.
NCCU’s Terry Simpson Jr. singled to center field but was left stranded when Duke pitcher Andrew Istler (5-5) fanned Troy Marrow.
Duke’s Chris Marconcini had been eyeing the fence all night when he stepped to the plate in the fifth with one out and the bases loaded. He drove in a run with a single to right field.
Another NCCU pitching change put right-hander Jacob Russell on the hill. He walked the first batter he faced, giving Duke another run.
NCCU’s bats came alive in the sixth. Carter Williamson ripped a pitch to right field and drove in the Eagles’ first run of the evening.
A wild pitch allowed Simpson to reach home.
That was enough to warrant a Duke pitching change, Sarkis Ohanian replacing Dillon Haviland with Eagles on the corners and no outs.
“I give a lot of credit to Sarkis Ohanian,” Pollard said. “He did a good job of picking up a teammate, right there, because he made some pitches, kept the runs off the board, got us back in the dugout.”
Duke got those runs back in the top of the eighth with David Perkins’ two-run homer over the right-field fence.
Koerner after the game would have nothing to do accepting the loss as just one of those so-called not-so-good days at the ballpark.
“I don’t buy that,” Koerner said. “We have a hard time being consistent. We’ve got to be more consistent.”
Duke’s pitchers didn’t walk a single Eagle.