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Blue Devils, Yellow Jackets both stand 1-1 in pool play
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Duke faced a must-win situation in its quest for the 2014 ACC Baseball Championship title, and Drew Van Orden delivered for the Blue Devils on Thursday afternoon.
The senior right-hander from Manhattan Beach, California went the distance and allowed five hits as the fourth-seeded Blue Devils blanked ninth-seeded Georgia Tech, 6-0, before 2,582 at New Bridge Bank Park.
Van Orden (6-5) struck out eight batters and walked only one in recording both the first complete game and first shutout of his collegiate career.
“Couldn't have come at a better time,” Van Orden said. “I struggled the last two weeks a little bit so it was good to try and come back and give the team everything I had and give them a chance to win. It was great out there. The defense played great behind me, and the coach called great pitches so everything was working.”
The Blue Devils improved to 33-24 for the season, while Georgia Tech slipped to 34-25. Both teams stand 1-1 in Pool A of the ACC Championship. Georgia Tech wraps up pool play with a 3 p.m. game against fifth-seeded Clemson on Friday, while Duke has a day off before facing top-seeded Miami on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Ryan Dietrich and Andy Perez backed Van Orden with solo home runs, and Jordan Betts a two-run shot in the seventh inning for the Blue Devils.
Dietrich finished the day 4-for-5 with two RBIs, and Perez and Betts both went 3-for-5 to lead a 14-hit Duke attack. Dietrich’s home run – a solo shot that put the Blue Devils ahead 1-0 in the fourth – was his ninth of the season and his second of the tournament. Perez connected for the second time this season, and Betts hit his fifth home run of the year.
“We got very timely hitting, (and) we were very good with our situational hitting,” Duke’s Chris Pollard said. “I thought our approach was very good, especially a day after I didn't think our approach was very good (in Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to Clemson). I thought our guys really responded. We had one of the most dialed in rounds of BP today I can remember us having, and guys worked hard to make adjustments. I think it carried over on the field with 14 hits.”
But when it came citing Duke’s key to victory, Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall didn’t mince words.
“Two words – Drew Van Orden,” Hall said. “Maybe that's three words, I don’t know. He pretty much had our number. We couldn't make adjustments at the plate, and that's the story of the game.”
Hall said the Yellow Jackets had the most trouble catching up with Van Orden’s breaking ball.
“We were chasing balls that were not strikes,” Hall said. “I told our team, it's tough enough as it is if you’re trying hit strikes, and when you start chasing as many balls out of the zone as we did, it's extremely hard to hit.”
Ben Parr (5-4) started on the mound for Georgia Tech and took the loss. The lefthander allowed eight hits and a pair of earned runs before departing with one out in the sixth. Three relievers combined to yield six hits and the final four Duke runs.
“Hopefully we can rest tonight, have some energy and play well tomorrow against Clemson,” Hall said.