John Gorman struck out six across six innings, and Stephen Sauter went 2-for-3 with an RBI as the Boston College Eagles defeated the Duke Blue Devils, 5-4, on Sunday from Bob Hannah Stadium at the University of Delaware. The win completed a three-game sweep of Duke by Boston College and lodged the Eagle name right into the thick of the early season ACC postseason race.
Boston College took an early 4-0 lead with a four-run second inning. Donovan Casey led off with a bunt single against Duke starting pitcher Luke Whitten, advancing to third when Nick Sciortino laced a 1-1 pitch into right center for a double. Casey scored one batter later when Logan Hoggarth grounded out to second, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead. Sciortino advanced to third on the play, and he scored when Sauter took a 2-2 pitch through the right side for a single, giving BC a two-run lead.
Johnny Adams continued the inning with a walk, and Jake Palomaki singled to right to load the bases. That was enough for Duke head coach Chris Pollard, who went to his bullpen and brought in Sarkis Ohanian. But Ohanian was in a tough spot with nowhere to put the runners, and he surrendered an RBI single to Joe Cronin with everyone advanced one bag, keeping the bases juiced. With still one out, Michael Strem lifted a pitch into right field, deep enough to score Sauter, bringing BC to a 4-0 lead. Chris Shaw ended the inning with a swinging strikeout, but damage was done. BC scored four runs on five hits, leaving only two men on base.
Duke chipped into the lead in the fourth and fifth by scoring three runs combined. In the fourth, Mike Rosenfeld singled up the middle off the pitcher's mound to score Andy Perez, who had led off the inning with a double. In the fifth, they loaded the bases but managed to score one when Justin Bellinger grounded into a double play. Kenny Koplove singled through the left side to drive in a second run, cutting the BC lead to 4-3.
The Eagles immediately got one back in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Chris Shaw singled to right then advanced two bases on an error committed by Bellinger at first base. He scored on a wild pitch to make it a 5-3 game.
In the top of the sixth, Duke again cut into the lead to make it a one run game. Rosenfeld singled to right to lead things off, and Cris Perez doubled off the wall in left center to bring him home. Perez was gunned down trying to stretch it to three on the short side of the field.
BC managed to shut down the Blue Devils in the later innings behind some solid relief pitching, not allowing more than one runner in the seventh and eighth. Jesse Adams pitched the seventh before John Nicklas shut down Duke in the eighth. Justin Dunn went 1-2-3 in the ninth for his third save of the year.
Once again, it was a full team effort for the Eagles, who tallied eight hits and scored five runs while leaving only eight players on base. In addition to Sauter's two hits, all BC starters except for Logan Hoggarth and Michael Strem recorded a hit, but they both had an RBI thanks to sacrifice flies.
On the hill, John Gorman (3-2) went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out six and walking two. Adams, Nicklas, and Dunn all threw one inning, striking out one apiece. They didn't walk anyone.
For Duke, Whitten (0-1) absorbed the loss after lasting just 1.1 innings, giving up four runs on four hits. He only allowed two runs himself but loaded the bases for Ohanian, who managed to settle down and only be charged with the one run in the fifth. He went 4.2 innings in relief, allowing four hits, striking out five, and walking one. Mitch Stallings threw two innings to round out the effort for Duke.
The sweep marked the third time in their history BC took down the Blue Devils, previously sweeping them in 2007 and 2008. It also improved the Eagles to 4-7 in ACC play (4-1 against teams not named Louisville or Florida State) and improved them to 11-13 on the year. Duke, who entered the weekend at 19-6, is now 19-9 overall, 4-8 in conference play.
BC entered the weekend in dead last in the ACC but boosted out of the basement and vaulted over Notre Dame in the ACC Atlantic Division standings. They are also on the cusp of being on the inside track for the ACC Tournament, although the season is still in its infancy.
The Eagles get a quick rest on Monday after traveling home before heading down to Storrs on Tuesday to take on the UConn Huskies. Duke, meanwhile, will head back to Durham before hosting Campbell, also on Tuesday.