Duke Falls to Virginia Tech, 6-1
BLACKSBURG, Va. – Beginner southpaw Jonathan Santucci a strong game together, but it wasn’t enough as the Duke baseball team dropped a 6-1 decision against Virginia Tech at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park on Friday night.
After a scoring game the night before in which both teams combined 29 hits and 11 homers, Duke (22-31, 10-19 ACC) and Virginia Tech (39-11, 18-9) saw a pitcher’s staff duel , since it was a 1-0 six-inning game. The hosts added runs late to pull away from the Blue Devils, limiting the visitors to just two hits on the night.
Santucci started on the mound for Duke and had one of his best starts in the ACC game that season. The Leominster, Mass. native limited a strong Virginia Tech offense and allowed a run to three hits and two walks while hitting five in a career-high 5.2 innings. Virginia Tech’s Drue Hackenberg got the start and allowed a run to two hits and three walks. He added seven strikeouts.
Santucci excelled out of goal. After allowing a leadoff single, he pulled back seven consecutive hokies to get through the first two frames. Virginia Tech broke open the goal in the third inning, hitting a solo home run down left field and taking a narrow 1-0 lead.
Duke threatened in the fourth inning and caught his first baserunner on a leadoff single by Rookie Alex Moony. Mooney earned second place in a wild pitch, but Virginia Tech escaped the jam with three straight outs. Mooney increased his hitting streak to 16 straight games.
The Hokies took the runners to second and third with two outs in the sixth inning to extend their lead. Senior Jimmy Loper entered relieved and knocked out the next batter to get out of the jam.
Virginia Tech extended their lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, hitting a double-barreled home run to right field to put it 3-0.
Duke got on the board 3-1 in the eighth inning. graduate student Wil Hoyle pulled a walk and Mooney was hit by a pitch to put the runners in first and second with no outs, forcing a pitching change from Virginia Tech. After Hoyle advanced to third by fielder’s choice, senior RJ Fright drove him into midfield with a sacrificial fly.
Virginia Tech added three unearned runs from two hits and one miss at the bottom of the eighth inning to level the game 6-1.
Duke wraps up the 2022 season on Saturday when the Blue Devils and Hokies head into Game 3 of the series at 2 p.m. at English Field in Atlantic Union Bank Park.