DURHAM, N.C. – Graduate student Brian McAfee tossed his first career shutout to power Duke to a 3-0 victory over No. 14 Virginia in the series final Sunday afternoon at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Virginia (11-5, 2-1 ACC) entered the contest as one of the ACC’s offensive leaders, but McAfee (2-1) needed just 94 pitches – 72 for strikes – to keep the Cavaliers off the scoreboard for nine innings for the first time since April 6, 2014 against Louisville. He scattered five singles, struck out three and did not walk a batter.
“Felt really good,” said McAfee. “It’s fun to play on the field against the reigning national champs … brings a whole new level of intensity to the ballgame.”
“It came at a big time,” added head coach Chris Pollard. “That’s how a fifth-year senior steps up for you.”
McAfee’s shutout is the first by a Blue Devil since Drew Van Orden tossed a scoreless complete game against Georgia Tech May 22, 2014. As a member of the Cornell baseball team in 2015, McAfee pitched 7.0 scoreless frames against Virginia March 1 in Charlottesville, Va.
“I seem to pitch well against them,” McAfee added. “I can’t really make any mistakes because they’re aggressive. I’ve got to be careful where I throw the first pitch. That’s a quality, quality ball club and it’s just fun pitching against them.”
For the second straight game, Duke (9-7, 1-2 ACC) put runs on the board first. Sophomores Ryan Day and Max Miller registered back-to-back singles off UVA starter Tommy Doyle (1-2). A passed pall moved the runners into scoring position before a Jimmy Herron sacrifice fly and a second passed ball gave Duke the 2-0 advantage at the end of the first.
The two runs proved to be all the run support McAfee needed and Duke’s defense was solid behind the right-hander who generated 19 groundball outs. After yielding an Adam Haseley leadoff single to start the game, McAfee retired 12-straight UVA batters before Daniel Pinero reached via error in the fifth.
Duke tacked on an insurance run in the seventh. Freshman Griffin Conine led off with a base hit and classmate Zack Kone moved him over with a sac bunt. With two outs, sophomore Evan Dougherty lined an RBI base knock to left field.
Virginia had a runner on in each of the final three frames, but none advanced to second. McAfee took a line drive off his throwing hand in the eighth but continued on to record the final five outs, inducing a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
In the midst of 12-straight home games, Duke returns to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park Tuesday, March 15 for a 6 p.m., game against Maryland Eastern Shore.