High powered sixth inning leads Blue Devils to win over Eagles

Duke strung together five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break open its contest with crosstown foe North Carolina Central Wednesday night.

The Blue Devils took their first lead in the sixth and never looked back, defeating the Eagles 8-4 at the DBAP.

Thomas Crispi (1-0), one of 10 Duke pitchers to see action, earned the win. Josh Little (0-2) took the loss for N.C. Central, who now drop to 0-21 all-time against the Blue Devils. Crispi, part of the revolving door on the mound, entered the game in the sixth, threw just 12 pitches and didn’t give up a hit. While he kept the Eagles off the board the top half of the inning, the Blue Devils’ bats came alive in the bottom half.

For five innings the Eagles (16-23) were in control against their ACC opponent, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Defensively, N.C. Central didn’t surrender a hit until the bottom of the second, and had two unearned runs to show for it on the scoreboard.

The Blue Devils got on the board thanks to a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth, then caught fire at the plate in the sixth. Duke (20-19) batted around the order, and got more hits in that one inning (5) than they collected the previous five. They also added five runs to take a commanding 6-2 lead. Jimmy Herron (3-5, 2RBI), Griffin Conine (1-3, 2RBI) drove in runs, and the Eagles walked in another with the bases loaded.

Duke added one run in the seventh and eighth to hold off N.C. Central. Freshman Erikson Nichols (1-2, 2RBI) scored Max Miller with a double and Kennie Taylor added the final run of the night for the Blue Devils with a double. The Eagles pulled to within three runs (7-4) when Dominic Cuevas (1-3, RBI) scored Carter Williams and N.C. Central got an unearned run thanks to a wild pitch.

In all, 17 different pitchers saw action in the contest. Duke went with a pitcher per inning approach for the first seven innings, with Hunter Davis throwing the most pitches (18).

The Blue Devils have now won two games in a row heading into a weekend series at Louisville. The Eagles have now dropped six straight. N.C. Central host a weekend series with Bethune-Cookman beginning Saturday at the DAP.

Jonas Pope IV: 919-419-7001, @JEPopeIV