DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke opened its weekend series against No. 18 Clemson with a 5-3 victory and the Blue Devils earned their fourth straight win overall Friday evening at Jack Coombs Field.
Duke (16-14, 5-8 ACC) has now won six of its past seven games and is hitting .305 as a team during that span.
Sophomore Peter Zyla matched his career high with three hits Friday versus Clemson (22-8, 7-6 ACC). Duke’s starting right fielder also contributed two RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. The Blue Devils’ 7-8-9 hitters – Zyla, Zack Kone and Max Miller – combined for seven of Duke’s 12 hits on the evening.
We were really opportunistic at the plate,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “Great production out of the bottom three in our lineup. Zyla had a tremendous night. Great job in RBI situations.”
Junior right-hander Bailey Clark (3-3) allowed three runs on six hits over 5.0 innings to pick up the win. Clark struck out four and walked two. He ended his outing with a quick 1-2-3 fifth.
Duke’s bullpen was up to the task of slowing a potent Clemson offense. James Ziemba, Jack Labosky, Ryan Day and Mitch Stallings tossed an inning each to close out the ballgame. That quartet did not allow a run and yielded just two hits over the final four frames.
“Bailey did some things well,” Pollard said. “His command was a lot better. His stuff was live. He had a lot of sink on the fastball. Really, really proud of our bullpen. What a great job by Ziemba to induce the groundball and the three guys behind him threw the baseball great.”
Clemson opened the scoring with a two-run second. Second baseman Weston Wilson lifted an RBI triple to deep right center field and designated hitter Robert Jolly added a sacrifice fly to account for the series’ first two runs.
Duke countered with two runs of its own to conclude the third. Miller and Jimmy Herron kicked the inning off with back-to-back base hits, advancing on a Chris Proctor groundball to the rightside. With two outs, sophomore Jack Labosky snuck a two-run single in front of Tiger left fielder Reed Rohlman.
Both teams plated a run in the fourth inning. Wilson led off with a single and scored on Jordan Greene’s sacrifice fly for Clemson, while Duke received an RBI base knock from Miller to counter in the bottom half.
Tied 3-3, the Blue Devils grabbed their first lead in the fifth. Labosky was hit by a pitch for the seventh time this season, advanced to second on a Justin Bellinger walk and scored on Zyla’s RBI single.
Duke tacked on a seventh-inning insurance run to extend the margin to 5-3. Bellinger’s leadoff base hit went to the opposite field and the Duke first baseman took second on a balk call. Evan Dougherty moved the runner with a ground ball, setting up a Zyla sacrifice fly to left.
In the ninth, Stallings fanned the first two batters he faced and wrapped up his third save of the season with a fly ball to right.