DURHAM, N.C. – Senior catcher Andrew Parker doubled twice and drove in three runs as Towson University (6-2) came from behind to edge Duke University (4-5) by a 6-5 margin at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Saturday evening in the second game of their three-game series.
The Tigers, who handed Duke a 9-3 loss on Friday evening, will go for the sweep on Sunday when they face the Blue Devils at 1:00 p.m.
The Blue Devils took a 5-2 lead into the fifth inning before the Tigers rallied. Junior shortstop Hunter Bennett led off with an infield single and raced to third on a single by junior centerfielder Brandon Gonnella. After Gonnella stole second base, Drew Van Orden retired the next two hitters. Then, Parker doubled to left center field, driving in a pair of runs to pull the Tigers to within 5-4.
After starting pitcher Paul Beers gave up five runs in the first four innings, Coach Mike Gottlieb went to his bullpen. Freshman righthander Lee Lawler came in to the game and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings to keep the Tigers in the game. When he gave up a one-out walk in the seventh inning, senior lefthander Mike Ryan came in from the bullpen and got the next two outs.
Still trailing by 5-4 in the eighth inning, the Tigers rallied to take the lead against relief ace Andrew Listler. Sophomore Brendan Butler led off the inning by drawing a walk. On the next pitch, junior leftfielder Kurt Wertz lined a triple to deep right centerfield, driving in the tying run. Moments later, Wertz scored the go-ahead run to give Towson a 6-5 lead.
Once he had a lead, Ryan made quick work of the Blue Devils. He retired the side in order in the last two innings as he picked up his third relief win of the season. In nine innings of work, he has not allowed a run and he has given up only three hits.
“Mike is healthy for the first time in quite a while,” says Coach Gottlieb. “He is throwing strikes and his changeup has been very effective.”
Duke took 1-0 lead in the first inning when catcher Mike Rosenfeld, third baseman Jordan Betts and designated hitter Matt Berezo hit three consecutive singles with two outs.
In the third inning, the Blue Devils added another run. Second baseman Andy Perez and leftfielder Jeff Kremer led off with back-to-back singles. With runners at first and third, Rosenfeld grounded into a double play as Perez scored.
The Tigers came back and tied the score in the fourth inning. Junior rightfielder Dominic Fratantuono led off with a single to right. He scored the Tigers’ first run when Parker doubled to right center. With two outs, Wertz singled to centerfield to drive in Parker with the tying run.
The Blue Devils came right back in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 5-2 lead. Berezo led off with a single. When Chris Marcocini belted a two-run homer, Duke owned a 4-2 advantage. A single by Istler kept the inning alive. He advanced to second base on an infield out. Then, he scored on a single by shortstop Kenny Kopolove to give Duke a 5-2 advantage.
Berezo led Duke with three hits as the Blue Devils outhit Towson, 12-8.
Parker led Towson with two doubles and three RBI’s while Wertz had two hits and drove in a pair of runs.
With a 6-2 record, the Tigers are off to their best start since 2001 when they won seven of their first eight games.