The Duke Blue Devils baseball team started out their new era on a high note, defeating the 13th-ranked Florida Gators 4-3 on the road in their season opener.
The win was an impressive one for the Blue Devils, as it was their first game under new Head Coach Chris Pollard and it came against a Golden Spikes contender in Florida pitcher Jonathon Crawford.
Luckily for Duke, it appeared Crawford still had a few cobwebs in his game, as he lasted only 3 2/3 innings, surrendering two runs and three hits while never looking as dominate as he did down the stretch in his 2012 campaign.
Duke fell behind early in after Florida scrapped together a run on a passed ball and a Cory Reid single in the bottom of the second, but they responded in the top of the fourth, taking a 2-1 lead on a 2-run home run from third-baseman Jordan Betts.
Duke would add onto the lead in the top of the eighth inning when Mike Rosenfeld tripled home Jeff Kremer. Rosenfeld would score soon after on a Florida error to stretch the lead to 4-2.
Relief pitcher Robert Huber wavered a bit after that, allowing one run on three hits in his short appearance, but left fielder Andrew Istler came to the mound and saved the Blue Devils, pitching a perfect 1 1/3 innings to finish Florida off, pick up the save, and get Duke the victory in the opener.
Duke (1-0) 4 – Florida (0-1) 3
Score by Innings R H E ------------------------------------------- Duke................ 000 200 020 - 4 7 1 Florida............. 010 001 010 - 3 7 2
WP – Robert Huber (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
LP – Corey Stump (0-1, 27.00 ERA)
S – Andrew Istler (1)
Game ball(s) – DUKE Trent Swart – SP (6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 SO, 2 ER)
– DUKE Mike Rosenfeld – C (3-5, RBI, 2B, 3B)
-First off, this is a great win for the Blue Devils. They kicked off the Chris Pollard era in style and they did against a very talented team. Florida lost a lot of talent from last year, including star catcher and third-overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft Mike Zunino, but they are still a dangerous team. Not only that, but Florida threw one of the better pitchers in college baseball at Duke, and the Blue Devils never backed down.
-This was a heck of an effort from starting pitcher Trent Swart. The sophomore from Carlsbad, California allowed only five baserunners in six innings of work, and outperformed Jonathon Crawford in every way. If Swart can keep this up, he’ll make the pain of losing Marcus Stroman hurt a lot less.
-Jordan Betts is a huge dude who is probably going to hit a lot of huge home runs this year, that is all.
-Game Two is tomorrow at 4pm (ET). Duke sends junior RHP Drew Van Orden to the mound against Florida right-hander Tucker Simpson.