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Furman Beats Duke, 11-9

Jordan Simpson
Jordan Simpson

DURHAM, N.C. -- Jordan Simpson homered, drove in two runs, and scored three times to lead Furman to an 11-9 victory over Duke in baseball action Wednesday afternoon at Jack Coombs field.

The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for Furman, which improves to 7-10.  Duke, meanwhile, falls to 9-8 on the season.

Simpson, who went 2-for-5 in the contest, led off the bottom of the second with a solo home run to left field, reached on an error and scored on a wild pitch in a five-run third, and delivered an RBI single and later scored on another wild pitch in a five-run seventh to help the Paladins build an 11-4 lead.

Duke tallied four runs in the eighth to make it 11-8, cut it to 11-9 with a run in the ninth, and brought the tying run to the plate before Paladin closer Brant Masters struck out the Blue Devils' Aaron Cohn to end the game and notch his third save of the season.

The Paladins banged out 13 hits in the contest and scored eight of their 11 runs with two outs.  Griffin Davis, who went 2-for-4, also knocked in a pair of runs, and Heath Burton (2-for-5), Chris Ohmstede (2-for-4), Alex Abrams (2-for-4) also registered two hits apiece for Furman.

Matt Berezo went 3-for-5 and scored two runs to lead Duke, which finished with eight hits.

Furman starting pitcher Matthew Quarles surrendered three runs on four hits over 4 2/3 innings.  He walked two and struck out one but did not qualify for the win, which was credited to Jacques de Gruy (1-1), who allowed a run on two hits while working the sixth and seventh innings.

The loss was charged to Blue Devil starter JR Holloway (0-1), who was tagged for six hits and six runs, though only two were earned, over 2 2/3 innings.

Holloway's teammates gave him an early lead with a pair of runs in the first inning, but it didn't last long as Simpson's solo clout to start the second cut it to 2-1. A five-run Paladin third, punctuated by two-out RBI singles by Ohmstede, Davis, and Cameron Whitehead, put Furman up, 6-2.

Duke tallied single runs in the fifth and sixth to slice the lead to 6-4, but a five-run Paladin seventh, fueled by five hits and a Blue Devil error, appeared to put the Paladins in control.

The eighth inning, which proved costly to the head coach Ron Smith's club in pair of losses to Gardner-Webb last weekend, almost again proved to be Furman's undoing as reliever Ryan Morse issued four walks while hitting a pair of batters, all of which led to four runs for the Blue Devils, who cut the lead to 11-8.  Masters, however, got the Paladins out of the two-out, bases loaded mess by retiring Jay Betts on a fly to end the rally.

Furman opens a three-game series against Hofstra with a Saturday doubleheader beginning at noon at Latham Stadium.