Baseball Falls At Duke, 2-0
DURHAM, N.C. – Despite allowing Duke just three hits Tuesday evening, UNCG could not get much going offensively itself as the Blue Devils won a 2-0 non-conference decision at Jack Coombs Field in Durham.
The win for Duke (25-17) earned the Blue Devils a season series split with the Spartans as UNCG (17-19) won 9-8 in 12 innings earlier this campaign in Greensboro.
The Spartans out-hit the home team 4-3 while each team committed an error. The UNCG error proved costly as it occurred with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning – leading to Duke’s first run of the contest.
Junior Brennen James (1-1) (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central) took the loss for the Blue and Gold, allowing an unearned run on no hits and one walk over 0.2 innings pitched. Andrew Istler improved to 6-5 for the Blue Devils, throwing five shutout innings with four strikeouts against no walks.
Offensively, UNCG mustered just four singles with junior Zac MacAneney (Gibsonville, N.C./Virginia Tech) also drawing a walk. Mark Lumpa had a double in the contest for Duke as one of just three Blue Devils to record a hit.
Both pitching staffs combined for 17 strikeouts and only one walk apiece as the game lasted just two hours and 16 minutes – a stark contrast to the five-hour affair the teams endured earlier in the season at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
The Spartans recorded a hit in each of the first two innings, but both runners ended up getting picked off by Istler to terminate any potential offensive threat. Duke would strike in the bottom of the fifth when James walked leadoff batter Matt Berezo. Berezo would steal second and move to third on a groundout. UNCG looked to be out of the inning with two away as James induced a ground ball to third off the bat of Kenny Koplove, but the ball was bobbled at third base and the run scored to make it 1-0.
After the Blue Devils added a run in the bottom of the eighth inning, MacAneney drew a walk with one out in the top of the ninth and reached second on a wild pitch. However, the next two Spartan batters struck out and grounded out to end the evening.
UNCG returns home this weekend for the first time since April 6, hosting local SoCon rival Elon for a three-game conference series at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. The Spartans and Phoenix will begin the series Friday with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.