Junior lefthander Jeb Bargfeldt delivered another solid start, Miami’s offense built on its momentum from the series opener, and the host Hurricanes clinched a crucial ACC series with a 7-0 victory over Duke Sunday.
The Hurricanes (15-16, 7-7 ACC), who scored five runs in the ninth inning Saturday to walk off with a win, scored four in the first to jump out to an early lead they would not relinquish.
Miami, who out-hit Duke 9-8 Sunday, goes for its first sweep of the season Monday night at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.
“It was a big win for us today, knowing that you’ve won the series and that you played well,” head coach Jim Morris said. “We’ve won three games in a row, and we’re 3-0 in the second half [of the season]. That’s what I’m talking about to our team.”
Junior Carl Chester connected on a three-run home run in the first inning off Duke starter Adam Laskey to put Miami ahead early.
Bargfeldt (3-2), who delivered the best start of his collegiate career last Saturday night against Wake Forest, was once again impressive for the Hurricanes. He scattered six hits over five shutout innings. He struck out three batters, walked two, and lowered his ERA in five conference starts to a team-best 1.42.
“I have to give credit to the defense,” Bargfeldt said. “They made a lot of great plays today. I certainly didn’t have great stuff, but I felt like if I challenged them and they put the ball in play, the defense behind me is going to make the plays.”
After the first two Miami batters of the game reached on a walk and error, Chester crushed an 0-2 pitch from Laskey (1-2) over the fence in left for his third homer of the year.
“I tried to lay two bunts down for hits, those went foul,” Chester said. “[The home run] was a changeup that kind of just stayed over the plate that I got the barrel on.”
Miami added to is lead when junior Hunter Tackett connected on an RBI single through the left side to score senior Johnny Ruiz, who singled.
Less than 24 hours after the team’s emotional, come-from-behind win over the Blue Devils, Chester said he “definitely” felt a difference Sunday in the game’s first inning.
“Last night was a huge win for us,” said Chester, who had the first four-RBI game of his career. “To come out and put a four-spot in the first inning really got the game off on the right foot for us.”