Duke Falls to Virginia Tech, 6-1

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Rookie southpaw Jonathan Santucci put together a strong outing, but it wasn’t enough as the Duke baseball team dropped a 6-1 decision to Virginia Tech on Friday night at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park.

After a high-scoring game the night before in which both teams combined for 29 hits and 11 home runs, Duke (22-31, 10-19 ACC) and Virginia Tech (39-11, 18-9) saw a duel of the pitching staffs as it was a 1-0 game through six innings. 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 ACC play this season. The Leominster, Mass., Native limited a strong Virginia Tech offense, allowing one run on three hits and two walks while striking out five in a career-high 5.2 innings of work. Virginia Tech’s Drue Hackenberg got the start and allowed one run on two hits and three walks. He added seven strikeouts.

Santucci was stellar out of the gate. After allowing a leadoff single, he retired seven consecutive Hokies to get through the opening two frames. Virginia Tech broke open the scoring in the third inning, hitting a solo home run to the left field and taking a narrow lead, 1-0.

Duke warned in the fourth inning, getting its first base runner on a leadoff single by rookie Alex Mooney. Mooney reached second on a wild pitch, but Virginia Tech escaped the jam with three consecutive outs. Mooney increased his hitting streak to 16 consecutive games.

The Hokies put runners on second and third with two outs in the sixth inning looking to add to their lead. Senior Jimmy Loper entered in relief and struck out the next batter to get out of the jam.

Virginia Tech added to its lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, hitting a two-run home run to the right field to make it 3-0.

Duke got on the board in the eighth inning, 3-1. Graduate student Wil Hoyle drew a walk and Mooney was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs, forcing a Virginia Tech pitching change. After Hoyle moved to third on a fielder’s choice, senior RJ Schreck drove him in with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Virginia Tech added three unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on two hits and an error to bring the game’s final score, 6-1.

Duke wraps up the 2022 season Saturday as the Blue Devils and Hokies square off for game three of the series at 2 pm at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park.


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