Duke Tops A&M To Capture Regional
Duke’s Kyle Gallagher launched a three-run home run in the first inning and added an RBI double in the third to lead the Blue Devils to a 4-1 win over Texas A&M in the NCAA Morgantown Regional championship game at Monongalia County Ballpark on Sunday night.
Gallagher went 3-for-4 with four RBI and three extra-base hits in Duke’s triumph. The third-seeded Blue Devils (34-25) finished a perfect 3-0 on the weekend and advance to next week’s Super Regionals for the second consecutive season.
Along with Gallagher’s efforts, freshman reliever Jack Carey earned the win, while sophomore Matt Dockman tallied the save for Duke. Junior left-handed starter Bill Chillari pitched 4.2 innings, allowing one run on seven hits, while striking out three.
“This was the reward for them for staying in the fight for what has been a trying season at times for us,” Duke coach Chris Pollard said. “You look at the record and wonder why it was trying; just having to go through the kind of setbacks and injuries and getting off to a slow start in the ACC. These guys had to stay really tough and resilient and stay together, and they did, and they kept playing hard for each other. They kept playing hard for our culture, and because of that, they were in a position to pull off something really great this weekend.”
After Duke grabbed the early 3-0 lead, thanks to the blast off the bat of Gallagher, Texas A&M (39-23-1), seeded No. 2 in the regional, answered with a run in the top of the third. Junior Hunter Coleman’s sacrifice fly to center field scored junior Bryce Blaum, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
However, that’s all the Aggie offense could muster following a come-from-behind, 11-10 win over No. 1-seed and regional host West Virginia in an elimination game earlier Sunday afternoon. Texas A&M finished with nine hits but left eight runners on base. Duke got out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth and yielded just one hit in the final three frames.
“Give Duke credit, they got the two big hits, and that was the difference in the game,” Texas A&M coach Rob Childress said. “But I’m very, very proud of our team. (They were) a lot of fun to be around. They worked very hard for one another, with one another. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. (I’m) disappointed in the destination, but (I’m) certainly proud of what they gave one another.”
Despite the loss, A&M sophomore Chandler Jozwiak picked up 12 strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work. Jozwiak did allow eight hits but five came in the first three innings.
Dockman’s second save of the season came after he allowed just one hit in a pair of innings pitched for the Blue Devils. He retired six of the seven Aggie hitters he faced to slam the door on the tournament sweep.
Duke sophomore pitcher Bryce Jarvis, who struck out 11 in eight innings on Saturday night against West Virginia, was named the regional’s MVP.