Jeff Burke threw five innings of shut out baseball, and Justin Dunn recorded a four inning save as a five-run fifth inning paced the Boston College Eagles past the Duke Blue Devils in ACC league action on Friday night. The game was played halfway between the two campuses at the University of Delaware's Hannah Stadium.
Boston College scored one run in the first to go along with that big mid-game inning, taking a shutout defensively into the ninth before Duke got on the board. The win improved BC to 9-13 on the year, 2-7 in league play, while Duke fell to 19-7, 4-6 in league play. Coupled with Pitt's loss to NC State, the Eagles are now within a game of the inside track to the ACC Tournament.
BC jumped on the board immediately against Duke starting pitcher Michael Matuella. After Duke went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, BC scored one in the bottom of the inning with two outs. Michael Strem walked and stole second, then scored when Chris Shaw singled him home. It was a quick hit for the Eagles, who made the most of having a man on base. Jake Palomaki had previously walked but was retired when Joe Cronin lined into a double play, and Donovan Casey grounded out to end the inning.
Matuella and Burke dueled into the fifth inning, although both teams had opportunities to put runs on the board. In the second inning, BC left two on base, while Duke left the bases loaded in the fourth. It remained a 1-0 game into the bottom of the fifth, when the Eagles finally blew things open.
After Johnny Adams grounded out to start the inning, Palomaki drew another walk and stole second. He scored when Joe Cronin doubled to right field. Now up 2-0, BC loaded the bases when Matuella walked Strem and surrendered a single to Shaw. Casey then chopped one back up the middle, but Matuella couldn't handle the ball, plating Cronin to make it a 3-0 game. With the bases remaining juiced, Duke went to the bullpen for Ryan Day, but Nick Sciortino hit a bases clearing double to right center to blow everything open.
Dunn started the sixth staked to a 6-0 lead, and outside of a walk in the sixth and a hit in the seventh was absolutely sterling through the ninth. The Blue Devils managed a base runner in each inning, reaching via an error in the eighth, but the righty pitched out of a jam each time. In the ninth, Cris Perez went yard to open up the inning, but Dunn rebounded with a whiff and two quick outs to end the game, 6-1.
On the hill, Burke (2-3) picked up the win by throwing five shutout innings. He allowed only three hits, striking out four and walking three. Dunn earned his second save by throwing the final four innings, allowing just the one run on two hits, walking one and striking out four. Of the 15 batters he faced, five were retired via flyout.
For Duke, Matuella (1-1) was saddled with the loss, charged with all six runs, of which only two were earned, on five hits. He struck out six but walked five. Day surrendered the big hit to Sciortino but was never charged with a run, going 3.1 innings and allowing only three hits. He struck out five and walked two.
At the dish, Joe Cronin went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Palomaki was 0-for-2 but drew three walks. Sciortino's only hit resulted in three RBI, more than making up for a three-strikeout performance. Shaw recorded two more hits, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. All in all, the Eagles only stranded eight runners.
For Duke, Peter Zyla was the only Blue Devil with multiple hits, going 2-for-3. Kenny Koplove, Cris Perez, and Mike Rosenfeld picked up the other hits, with Perez being the difference on the homer.
Duke head coach Chris Pollard was ejected in the fourth inning.
The two teams will battle for the second of their three game series on Saturday from Delaware. First pitch is scheduled for 1 PM.