DURHAM, N.C. – Joe Parsons threw a six-hit complete game shutout and Jake Atwell drove in three runs to help Virginia Tech take its ACC series at Duke with a 9-0 victory Sunday afternoon at Bulls Athletic Park.
Tech improved to 26-20 overall, 9-15 in the conference with the win, while Duke fell to 21-26, 5-19 in the league.
Parsons threw 116 pitches on the afternoon, 80 for strikes, scattered the six hits and two walks and struck out five batters. Even though he allowed the first two batters to reach in the ninth, he worked out of his own jam to earn Tech’s first ACC shutout since March 26, 2010 (7-0 versus Wake Forest).
Offensively, Atwell and Tim Smalling each had two hits, while Chad Pinder and Chad Morgan each scored two times. Atwell was the only Hokie with a multi-RBI game, which included a two-run home run.
For the third time in the series, the Hokies put the first run on the board, this time plating two unearned runs in the second. Smalling led off the frame with a single and stole second. After one out, Tony Balisteri hit an infield single and Pinder walked to load the bases.
Morgan then hit a grounder right back to the Duke pitcher Chase Bebout. Attempting to get the force at home, he threw there, but wide, allowing Smalling to score and the bases remained loaded. Johnny Morales plated Balisteri with a sacrifice fly to left, giving Morales his 12th straight game with either a run scored or an RBI.
In the third, Ronnie Shaban hit a one-out double into right, the 53rd of his career, which is one shy of tying Marc Tugwell (2000-03) for fifth all-time at the school. He moved to third on a Smalling single and scored on an Andrew Rash ground out for Rash’s 47th run batted in of 2011.
The Hokies put another run on the board in the fourth to make it 4-0. Morgan drew a one-out walk, his eighth consecutive game reaching base by a free pass. He moved to second on a Morales grounder, and then scored on Atwell’s single to right.
Meanwhile, Parsons was cruising on the hill. He allowed a pair of hits and a walk through the first four innings. He picked off one base runner at first and stranded the other two.
However, Duke got another lead-off base runner with a single by Jordan Betts, who moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. After getting a fly out, Parsons surrendered a single to right by Angelo LaBruna and Betts tried to score from second.
But Pinder came up with the ball and threw to the cutoff man Shaban, who threw home in time to get Betts. For Pinder, it was his second straight game with an outfield assist.
Tech blew the game open in the top of the sixth, plating four runs all with just one hit. After an out, Pinder was hit by a pitch and stole second. Morgan and Morales drew back-to-back walks, ending the day for Blue Devil reliever Eric Pfisterer.
Coming in was Drew Van Orden, who threw a pair of wild pitches which allowed both Pinder and Morgan to score. Atwell finished off the inning with a two-run home run to right field, his second of the year.
Parsons continued to stupefy the Blue Devil batters, retiring 10 of 11 batters through eight frames, including striking out the last two hitters looking in the seventh.
Tech will be off a couple days before returning to Blacksburg to play out the rest of its regular season. The Hokies begin a season-long 10-game home stand on Wednesday against USC Upstate with a 5:30 p.m. first pitch.
Additional Notes: Tech now has four shutouts as a member of the ACC, three on the road. The other two were at Maryland, April 12, 2009 (5-0) and at Duke, May 1, 2005 (2-0). Parsons is the third Tech pitcher to record a complete game shutout in ACC action joining Justin Wright (9 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K vs. Wake) and Ryan Kennedy (9 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 10 K at Duke). Tech completes its regular season with 14 road wins, tied for the second-most in a season since 2000 (2000-14, 2003-16). The 16 wins away from Blacksburg (14 road, two neutral site wins) are tied for the most in a single season since 2000 (2000-16, 2003-16). Tech also finishes 8-7 on the road in league play, marking its first winning record on the road since joining the ACC.
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