'Canes, Diaz blow past Blue Devils at DBAP

May. 09, 2014 @ 09:54 PM

Having collected 11 hits against Miami pitcher Chris Diaz last season, Duke entered Friday night’s game with some confidence when facing the lefthander again.

Diaz showed he’s improved to remain undefeated for this season.

Duke managed just two hits in eight innings against Diaz and No. 8 Miami topped the Blue Devils 6-1 in an ACC baseball game at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

The 11 hits the Blue Devils touched Diaz for last season in Coral Gables, Fla., mark the most the junior has given up in one game in his career. He finished last season with a 7-5 record but posted an impressive 1.64 ERA.

This season, no one has been able to beat Diaz (9-0) and he lowered his earned-run average to 2.05 with Friday night’s solid performance.

“By all scouting reports that we had we knew he’d made a jump from last year to this year in terms of his performance,” Duke coach Chris Pollard said. “He was just really in control out there on the mound tonight.”

Duke (30-19, 15-10 in the ACC) managed only two baserunners over the first four innings and they came on a walk and an error. The Blue Devils collected their first hit in the fifth inning when David Perkins tripled high off the Blue Monster in left field.

Diaz walked three, gave two hits and allowed just one run over his eight innings. He struck out five as he used his changeup more than Duke saw last season.

“He’s just so poised and so in control of the game out there on the mound,” Pollard said. “That’s where he, to me, is most impressive. There are guys that throw harder, guys with better off-speed. But he has such great mound presence out there. That, to me, is most impressive.”

Duke starting pitcher Drew Van Orden carried a strong 2.96 ERA in to the start but Coastal Division-leading Miami (36-14, 20-5) got all the runs it would need in the game’s first four batters.

Dale Carey started the rally with a ground ball to deep short that Duke’s Kenny Koplove couldn’t handle. After that infield single, Van Orden hit Tyler Palmer with a two-strike breaking pitch.

Zack Collins put the Hurricanes up 1-0 with a line-drive double up the gap in right-centerfield that drove in Carey and moved Palmer to third.

Willie Abreu’s single up the middle drove in Collins for a 2-0 Miami lead.

“I thought (Van Orden) was a little bit amped up,” Pollard said. “I thought the ball was just slightly up.”

Van Orden (5-4) induced a double-play ground ball that produced a run for a 3-0 Miami lead before striking out Johnny Ruiz to end the inning.

Miami didn’t score again until Collins slammed a solo home run in the sixth inning. But that was more than enough runs for Diaz.

“He was really effective in the zone,” Duke third baseman Jordan Betts said. “He threw everything for strikes. He really featured his changeup a little more than we thought.”

Duke looks to even the series at 1:05 p.m. today when Trent Swart (4-1, 0.90 ERA) pitches against Miami’s Andrew Suarez (4-2, 2.64). The series concludes Sunday at noon when Michael Matuella (1-2, 2.56) starts for Duke against Miami’s Bryan Radziewski (5-2, 2.45).