On a 2-1 count in the top of the seventh inning at Goodmon Field in Durham, N.C., Boston College left fielder Chris Galland knocked his second hit of the ballgame—a double over the head of Duke center fielder Joey Loperfido—to bring in right fielder Dante Baldelli. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the run batted in did not mean much, as it narrowed the Blue Devils’ lead to 10-3, a scoreline which held through the final two frames.
The loss marked the first of the season for BC (3-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) and was the first conference win of the year for No. 25 Duke (3-3. 1-1).
In the first inning, Galland reached on a throwing error by Duke second baseman Wil Hoyle to lead off the game. Center fielder Sal Frelick then stroked an opposite field double off the “Blue Monster” in left field. Although the inning looked promising for the Eagles with runners on second and third and no outs, Blue Devil pitcher Henry Williams struck out three in a row to pitch out of the jam and strand Galland and Frelick, heading back into the dugout unscathed.
After making a remarkable leaping catch up against the center field fence, Frelick could not repeat the flashy fielding as a similarly hit ball by Duke left fielder RJ Schreck popped out of the webbing of Frelick’s glove for a two-run double, giving the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead after one inning.
BC pitcher Mason Pelio found himself in a jam in the bottom of the second inning, as he walked three batters and surrendered a hit to load the bases and give Duke a 3-0 lead.
Galland hit his first home run of the season off Williams to lead off the third inning and put the Eagles on the board.
Duke put together another rally in the bottom of the fourth, as Loperfido lined a double over the head of Galland and off the wall to bring runners to second and third with one out. Pelio then struck out Duke catcher Michael Rothenberg for his sixth punch out of the afternoon and walked right fielder Peter Matt to load the bases, bringing his walk total to four.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Pelio walked in another run before Duke first baseman and former Little League World Series star Chad Knight knocked a base hit into right field to bring in two more runs for Duke. Pelio struck out Duke-designated hitter Chris Crabtree to end the inning, his seventh strikeout of the game.
Frelick hit another off the Blue Monster, a long single before advancing to second on an overthrow to drive in Baldelli, cutting the Duke lead to 6-2 in the top of the fifth.
The Galland solo shot and the pair of hits by Frelick were Williams’ only major blemishes, as he put together a solid outing of two runs allowed through a career-high six innings pitched with five hits, one walk, and a career-high seven strikeouts on an efficient 79 pitches thrown. Conversely, BC ace Pelio did not pitch to his typical ability, as he lasted just four innings on a career-high 111 pitches, surrendering six runs on eight hits, a lowly five walks, but he recorded seven strikeouts.
Joe Mancini relieved Pelio in the fifth, and he found himself in a jam early with Blue Devils on every base and just one out. He nearly got out of it, getting a ground ball hit by Rothenberg, but the Eagles could not turn the double play, and Erikson Nichols came into score, making the Duke advantage 7-2.
The Blue Devils scraped together another trio of runs in the bottom of the sixth. The first came off a fielder’s choice that allowed Schreck to score. Back-to-back doubles by Crabtree and Nichols broke the game open for Duke and put the Blue Devils in double digits as Mancini was relieved by freshman Charlie Coon. Coon dished out an inning and two-thirds of scoreless work in his collegiate debut before handing the ball off to fellow freshman John West, who threw a scoreless inning in his collegiate debut.
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Senior Staff