2009 ACC Baseball Championship: Duke Explodes Past Clemson, 10-4
May 22, 2009
DURHAM, N.C. (theACC.com) -- Duke exploded for six runs in the sixth inning Friday to break open a close game in a 10-4 victory over Clemson in the round-robin round of the 2009 ACC Baseball Championship.
The victory kept the seventh-seeded Blue Devils (35-23) alive in Division B of the championship, pending the outcome of Friday night’s North Carolina-Virginia matchup. Clemson (39-19), now 0-2 in the ACC’s postseason event, was eliminated from championship game contention with the loss.
Duke starter Andrew Wolcott (W, 8-3) and Clemson’s Chris Dwyer (L, 4-5) were locked in a tense pitcher’s duel through 5 1/3 innings with the Blue Devils nursing a narrow 2-1 lead after three solo home runs.
But first baseman Nate Freiman opened the bottom of the sixth inning with a home run over the Blue Monster in left-center field. It was the 20th homer of the season for Freiman, allowing him to pull ahead of UNC’s Dustin Ackley in the ACC home run race. It was also the 43rd round-tripper of Freiman’s career -- giving him the Duke record in that category.
The Blue Devils continued to score on Dwyer. Leftfielder Jeremy Gould followed Freiman’s blast with a bunt single, extending his hitting streak to 21 straight games. Shortstop Jake Lemmerman, who had earlier homered, tripled Gould home. After a pair of walks, third baseman Ryan McCurdy doubled in a run and right fielder Alex Hassan drove in two more runs with a single.
The Blue Devils added two more runs in the seventh off reliever Clinton McKinney. Both Freiman and Lemmerman doubled in the inning.
The Tigers finally got to Wolcott in the eighth inning -- scoring three runs, thanks to some erratic fielding by the normally steady Blue Devils. The Duke defense, which ranks fourth nationally in fielding percentage, committed two errors and allowed two unearned runs in the inning.
But reliever Michael Ness got the last two outs in the eighth and completed a scoreless ninth to wrap up Duke’s first ACC championship win since a 2004 victory over Virginia.