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Duke’s 9th-inning rally falls short in 10-9 loss to Wake Forest

Posted Friday, April 14, 2006

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DURHAM, NC – Trailing 10-6 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Duke Blue Devils scored three times in the final frame to make it a one-run ballgame but it was not enough as the Wake Forest Demon Deacons held on for a thrilling 10-9 victory on Friday night at Jack Coombs Field. The Blue Devils fall to 12-27 overall and 4-12 in the ACC while the Demon Deacons improve to 26-12 overall and 10-6 in league play.

Second baseman Javier Socorro singled through the right side to start the ninth. After center fielder Jonathan Anderson singled through the right side, first baseman Jonathan Nicolla lined a single to center to load the bases. Catcher Matt Williams then grounded out to third to score Socorro. Third baseman Adam Murray followed with a groundout to second to score Anderson. Pinch hitter Tim Sherlock then reached on an error by second baseman Matt Antonelli, allowing Nicolla to score from third to make it a 10-9 ballgame. Right fielder Jimmy Gallagher followed with a single to left field to keep the rally alive. With two on and two out, Wake Forest closer Ben Hunter got shortstop Brett Bartles to fly out to center to end the game.

Antonelli broke a 6-6 tie in the top of the eighth with a two-out RBI-double down the left field line. Shortstop Dustin Hood followed with an RBI-single through the left side to put the Demon Deacons up, 8-6.

Wake Forest added a pair of runs in the top of the ninth to take a 10-6 lead. Right fielder Evan Ocheltree hit a one-out double to left center to start the frame. Left fielder Casey Sterk then singled to right and advanced to second on the throw to give the Deacons runners on second and third. With first base open, the Blue Devils intentionally walked catcher Dan Rosaia to load the bases. Third baseman Andy Goff then laced a two-run double to left center, scoring Ocheltree and Sterk.

Duke scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to take a 2-0 lead. Gallagher lined the first pitch he saw from Wake Forest starter Brad Kledzik into the right field corner for a leadoff triple. Bartles then hit a dribbler down the third base line to score Gallagher. Designated hitter Nate Freiman followed with a bloop single to center. Bartles would score on Freiman’s single after center fielder Eric Williams’ throw to third skipped past Goff.

The Demon Deacons answered with a pair of runs in the top of the second to tie the game at 2-2. After left fielder Tyler Smith reached second on a two-base error, Rosaia dropped an RBI-double down the right field line to score Smith. Two batters later, Williams lined an RBI-single up the middle to score Rosaia.

Wake Forest grabbed a 3-2 lead in the top of the third on a solo home run by first baseman Allan Dykstra. Dykstra hit a towering shot on a 3-1 offering from Duke starter Danny Otero over the wall in right center for his ACC-leading 13th long ball of the season.

The Blue Devils would add a run of their own in the bottom of the third to tie the game at 3-3. After Socorro singled up the middle, Anderson singled to right field and advanced to second on the throw to give Duke two runners in scoring position. Nicolla then roped an RBI-single to left to score Socorro.

Antonelli added an RBI-single in the top of the fourth to give the Deacons a 4-3 lead.

Duke then scored three times in the bottom half of the frame to take a 6-4 lead. Murray singled through the left side to start the inning before advancing to second on a bunt single by left fielder Daniel Palmer. Gallagher followed with an RBI-single through the right side, scoring Murray and giving the Blue Devils runners on the corners. Bartles then laced an RBI-double to right center to score Palmer. Two batters later, Socorro capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to right.

Wake Forest scored a pair of runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 6-6. Hood doubled down the left field line to start the inning before advancing to third on a passed ball. Dykstra followed with a sacrifice fly to right to make it a one-run ballgame. Two batters later, Ocheltree drove a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left for an opposite field home run to tie the game.

Deacons’ reliever Josh Ellis improved to 2-2 on the season after working a hitless seventh inning. Hunter escaped with his ACC-leading 11th save of the season after allowing three runs in the bottom of the ninth.

Otero fell to 5-3 on the year after allowing eight runs on 13 hits in 8.0 innings of work.

Gallagher led the Blue Devils at the plate with a career-high tying five hits. Socorro added three hits while Bartles, Anderson, Nicolla and Palmer had two hits each for Duke.

Hood, Ocheltree and Williams collected three hits apiece and Antonelli added a pair of hits to lead Wake Forest in the win.

The Blue Devils and the Demon Deacons will play game two tomorrow at 1 p.m. Right-hander Tony Bajoczky will try to even the series at 1-1 when he takes the mound for Duke on Saturday. Sunday’s series finale is also set for a 1 p.m. start.

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