BLACKSBURG, Va. – Duke University used the pitching of Dennis O’Grady and a 16-hit attack to hand No. 15 Virginia Tech an 11-7 loss in the final game of their three-game Atlantic Coast Conference baseball series Sunday at English Field. The loss dropped the Hokies’ record to 36-16 on the season and 16-11 in ACC play.
O’Grady held the Hokies hitless until the sixth inning when Tech freshman third baseman Brent Zimmerman tripled off the right field wall with one out. The Duke right-hander walked three Tech batters during the first five innings, but faced just one batter over the minimum during that span thanks to a pair of double plays. O’Grady allowed just one run and three hits over seven innings before being lifted following a weather delay. He struck out six batters and walked four, while gaining his second win of the season against four losses.
The Blue Devils (29-24; 8-19 ACC) backed O’Grady with a 16-hit attack that featured just one extra-base hit. Every batter in Duke’s starting lineup produced at least one hit with shortstop Jake Lemmerman and center fielder Will Piwnica-Worms leading the way with 3-for-5 days. Lemmerman drove in two runs and scored three, while Piwnica-Worms had two runs scored to go with an RBI.
Tech pitcher Jesse Hahn returned to action for the first time since pitching 6.1 innings at Virginia on Apr. 18. Hahn, who took the loss, showed the effects of the layoff, walking three batters and giving up a pair of runs in the top of the first. The junior right-hander issued free passes to three of the first four Blue Devils he faced before pitcher/designated hitter O’Grady drove in the first run on a groundout to third. Marcus Stroman followed with a single for the second run of the inning.
Stroman singled again in the fourth when he bounced a ball back to Hahn that became lodged in the pitcher’s jersey and couldn’t be retrieved in time for a play. Stroman moved to second on a balk, took third on a failed pickoff and scored the Blue Devils’ third run on a suicide squeeze bunt by third baseman Ryan McCurdy.
Freshman Joe Mantiply replaced Hahn on the mound to start the fifth inning and was greeted with three consecutive one-out hits and another Duke run. Piwnica-Worms doubled in the inning and scored on a single by Lemmerman. The Blue Devils continued to extend their lead in the sixth, chasing Mantiply with five consecutive singles to begin the inning. The visitors added a sixth-straight single and scored a total of six runs before the Hokies could get out of the inning. McCurdy, catcher Ryan Munger, Piwnica-Worms and Lemmerman contributed run-scoring singles during the frame. The Blue Devils, who also stole three bases in the inning, also scored on a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice.
Tech finally broke up both the no-hitter and the shutout in the bottom of the sixth inning. Following Zimmerman’s second triple of the season, left-fielder Buddy Sosnoskie punched an RBI single to left.
Following the seventh inning, the game was suspended for one hour and 23 minutes due to lightning and rain. When the contest was resumed, the Blue Devils picked up where they left off, stringing together three-consecutive singles for a run in eighth.
Tech made a late run at the Blue Devils’ bullpen, scoring three runs in both the eighth and ninth innings. Catcher Steve Domecus had doubles in both innings, driving in a run in the eighth and two more in the ninth. The Hokies finished the game with eight hits, with Domecus going 3-for-5. Sean Ryan added two hits and a pair of runs scored.
Tech is scheduled to travel to Davidson College for a non-conference game on Tuesday at 4 p.m., before closing out regular-season play with a three-game ACC series at the University of North Carolina, May 20-22.
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