DURHAM, N.C. – An eight-run fifth inning proved the difference Tuesday night as Duke posted a 9-0 non-conference victory over No. 9 East Carolina at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. ECU drops to 5-2 with the setback while the Blue Devils improve to 6-2.
Jacob Starling, Cam Murphy and Cam Clonch were responsible for the Pirates’ three hits while Alex Mooney went 3-for-4 and Jay Beshears drove in a quartet of runs for the home side.
Alex Gow (1-0) tossed four scoreless to earn his first win of the season on the mound, walking two and striking out a pair. Danny Beal (1-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing four runs on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts in one inning of work.
ECU starter Zach Root ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the first as Mooney led off with a single through the right side and Beshears walked with one out, but the southpaw induced a pop up to first and a fielder’s choice out at second to keep things scoreless. Duke put two on with one out in the home half of the second as well, but Root stayed steady and worked out of the jam once more.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Andrew Fischer hit a solo home run to right field to give the Blue Devils an early 1-0 advantage before Beal fanned Tyler Albright swinging to end the half inning.
The first big moment for the ECU offense occurred in the top of the fifth when Alec Makarewicz was hit by a pitch and Josh Moylan and Joey Berini drew walks to load the bases with two outs. Owen Proksch got Jacob Jenkins-Cowart swinging, however, to keep his side in front. Duke capitalized on the momentum in its half of the inning, loading the bases with no outs and receiving a Beshears grand slam to push ahead 5-0. The Blue Devils would add four more in the frame before a fly ball to center marked the third out.
Clonch provided the first Pirate hit of the contest in the top of the seventh while an error in center put East Carolina runners at the corners, but Duke turned its third double play of the evening to remain unscathed. ECU had other late chances to score but was unable to crack the board.
- East Carolina fell to 1-2 in true road games.
- Duke won for just the second time over East Carolina in the last 24 meetings.
- The Pirates have allowed the first run in six of the first seven games this season.
- ECU pitchers walked a 2023-high eight batters.
- Clonch made his second start of the campaign.
Up Next: East Carolina hosts the 20th annual Keith LeClair Classic this weekend, welcoming Georgetown, Indiana and Long Beach State to Greenville for the round-robin event.