DURHAM, N.C.- The University of Pennsylvania baseball team received a big performance from Pat Bet on the mound and the bullpen picked up the slack once he exited the contest, shutting down Duke and holding the Blue Devils to just four hits in a 6-0 win on Tuesday. Bet went six innings and allowed only two hits in picking up his first career win. Mitch Montaldo threw two scoreless innings in relief and Ronnie Glenn closed it out with a quiet ninth inning.
A single from Mike Rosenfeld in the bottom of the first inning would end up being as much offense as Duke could muster in the first four innings of the contest. Bet didn't try to overpower the Blue Devils in the cold, misty conditions. Rather, he played to contact, keeping the ball in the zone and letting his defense pick him up. The strategy paid off as Duke only advanced two runners into scoring position in the entire game. In his six innings on the mound, Bet only struck out two, but he also only walked one and hit one batter.
Meanwhile, Duke starter James Marvel had just enough control issues to put Penn out in front. In the second inning, a Spencer Branigan single was followed by consecutive walks to Marshall Harden and Gary Tesch. With two down, Brandon Engelhardt ripped a RBI single to right field for a 1-0 lead. The Quakers continued to show good plate discipline later in the inning as Ryan Deitrich collected another RBI off a walk with the bases loaded for a 2-0 advantage.
Still, Penn couldn't expand on that lead in the third or fourth, and after Austin Bossart was robbed of what easily could have been a triple with an over-the-shoulder catch from the Duke right fielder, it looked like nothing was going to happen for the Red and Blue in the fifth inning either. With two down in the inning, the Quakers suddenly found a groove. Back-to-back doubles to the left field wall from Montaldo and Branigan made it 3-0 and ended the day for Marvel.
Duke tried to get something going in both the fifth and sixth innings, but was denied on both occasions. In the fifth, a single and a walk had two men on with no outs. Bet was able to escape the situation by inducing a 6-4-3 double play out of Andrew Istler, then getting a ground ball to third out of Reed Anthes that Rick Brebner put away to end the side. An inning later, the Blue Devils again had two men on, this time with two outs, but a harmless fly ball to center field put a stamp on Bet's evening and kept the shutout going.
Penn put the game away with a three-run seventh. Montaldo and Branigan each singled to start the frame, and a Harden double made it 4-0 before Duke could record an out. After a pitching change, Mike Vilardo doubled down the left field line to bring both Branigan and Harden home for the final 6-0 margin.
Montaldo took over on the mound for Penn in the bottom of the seventh and picked up right where Bet had left off. The sophomore struck out two in the inning and set the Blue Devils down in order. A pair of two-out singles were all Duke could manage against Montaldo in the eighth and Glenn in the ninth as the Quakers locked down the victory.
Branigan led the offense, going 3-for-4 with a walk, a RBI and two runs scored. Vilardo and Engelhardt each had two hits at the top of the batting order, while Deitrich went 1-for-3 but drew a pair of base on balls.
Penn improves to 2-3 on the season and will wrap up the series with the Blue Devils (5-6) tomorrow at 3 p.m. from Jack Coombs Field.