by Rob Rowe
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK/DURHAM If you saw the box score from last night's game, you'd be in disbelief - #11 UNC beat Duke 21-9.
Fast-forward eighteen hours, and its Duke with an eight-run inning in front of the largest crowd in Duke coach Sean McNally's tenure, and possibly in Duke Baseball history - the attendance is at 2,572. The crowd cheers on the Blue Devils to win this one, 15-11.
Eric Pfisterer (2-1, 5.28 ERA coming into today) is on the mound for Duke at the start. Tar Heel starting pitcher Patrick Johnson (2-1, 1.42 ERA coming into today) starts the first three innings and allows UNC to take a 2-1 lead.
But Johnson allows three runs in the third and is pulled two thirds of the way into the fourth inning after letting two more runs score, with the score going 6-3, now in favor of Duke. Chris Munnelly comes in to relieve, and gets out of the inning without any more runs. Pfisterer returns for the top of the fifth and gets two quick earned runs - Duke's lead is now down to one; Christopher Manno (0-0, 0.00 ERA) comes in to relieve Pfisterer. Manno allows zero runs to finish off the inning, and Duke never looks back.
Duke scores just one run in the bottom of the inning with Munnelly still at the helm, but UNC strikes back with a run of its own in the top of the sixth. Duke responds by scoring eight in the bottom of the inning, returning the favor from last night's nine-run inning by UNC in the top of the third. Munnelly was responsible for six out of the eight runs in that inning by scoring three and leaving three on base, all without recording an out. Michael Morin comes in and has Munnelly's three runners score, followed by two of his own runners touching home plate; an out is produced in all of the chaos. R.C. Orlan now is in to relieve, and he finishes the inning; he doesn't allow a single run to score while he's on the mound.
Duke's Marcus Stroman (2-0, 2.25 ERA entering today) relieves Manno, who leaves the game without an earned run; Stroman closes the game, allowing five runs and picks up the save.
Blue Devil Christopher Manno gets the win, allowing three hits. Tar Heel Patrick Johnson gets the loss, and allows six runs in three and two-thirds innings pitched.
Duke's shortstop Jake Lemmerman gets a career-high three stolen bases, four RBIs and three hits in six at-bats. Center fielder Will Piwnica-Worms get three RBIs in as many hits with four at-bats. Every Blue Devil had a hit except first baseman Jeremy Gould.
Tar Heel left fielder Ben Bunting scores three runs in four at-bats. Tommy Coyle, Levi Michael and Brian Goodwin each get two RBI.
Duke and UNC face off tomorrow in the series finale at 1pm at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The winner of the contest will receive one point in the Carlyle Cup standings. The Carlyle Cup is awarded to the team that has the most head-to-head wins between Duke and UNC. UNC, who has won the cup five times in the trophy's nine years of existence, is currently ahead in the standings, 10-6.5; Duke has won it three times and tied with UNC in 2007, but hasn't had sole possession of the cup since 2004.