Duke beats Texas A&M 4-1 to win Morgantown regional

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Kyle Gallagher homered and drove in four runs and Duke won a NCAA Tournament regional for the second straight year, beating Texas A&M 4-1 on Sunday night.

Third-seeded Duke (34-25) advanced to the super regional to meet the winner of the Nashville regional.

Texas A&M starter Chandler Jozwiak (4-5) struck out 12 but allowed Gallagher's three-run homer in the first inning and his RBI double in the fourth. Jozwiak walked one and allowed eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Gallagher also doubled in the eighth and finished 3 for 4. Three Duke pitchers scattered nine hits.

Second-seeded Texas A&M (39-23-1) needed to beat Duke twice to advance but couldn't mount another rally after coming from nine runs down to eliminate top-seeded West Virginia 11-10 earlier Sunday on Bryce Blaum's ninth-inning grand slam.

Hunter Coleman's sacrifice fly in the third scored the only run for the Aggies.

Duke won the first regional in school history last year in Athens, Georgia.

B1 | With two outs, Matt Mervis singled to right, Michael Rothenberg drew a five pitch walk and Kyle Gallagher hit a 1-0 pitch into rightfield bullpen for a three-run dinger. Duke 3, A&M 0.

T3 | Blaum hit a leadoff double to leftfield and Cam Blake put a bunt single down to put runners on the corners. Hunter Coleman plated Blaum with a sacrifice fly. Duke 3, A&M 1.

B3 | Kennie Taylor started the frame with a bunt single down the third base line and with one out he moved to second on a balk. Gallagher plated Taylor with a two-out double. Duke 4, A&M 1.


Head Coach Rob Childress

Opening Statement…

Well, I’m certainly proud of our team. They gave each other everything they had today. That’s all I asked of them this morning when we got started – just empty the tank for each other and live with the results. We did that in the first game. We did that again tonight. Joz (Chandler Jozwiak) was outstanding on the mound. They got two big two-out hits, and that was the difference in the game. We certainly had opportunities to get our big hits as well, and we didn’t do that. Give Duke credit. They got the two big hits, and that was the difference in the game. 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.

On Texas A&M’s success in the ninth inning throughout the regional…

Well, we had a great talk this morning before we got started, great talk before we got started in game two. They didn’t need to be motivated. They certainly gave each other everything they had. Give Duke credit. They played the best out of all four teams here this weekend. They were well-coached. They out-pitched everybody all weekend long, and that’s the reason they’re advancing. (Duke head coach) Coach (Chris) Pollard and his staff do a great job. They were well prepared, and at the end of the day, they played the best out of the four teams here.

On junior infielder Bryce Blaum’s efforts today…

He had a wonderful day today. Like you said, (he had) the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. That’s just a gamut of emotions for a young guy or an old guy for that matter. He’s just a great teammate and plays as hard as he can possibly play at all times. Getting on and off the field, running hard 90’s whether he gets ahead or not. Usually guys who do that get paid back for the moment. When you’re in the moment, sometimes you get repaid for that when you respect the game the way he respects a game and goes about his business the way he does.

On sophomore left-handed pitcher Chandler Jozwiak…

He was outstanding. He pitched to stay alive and punched out 12. Give him two pitches back, and we’re still playing. (I’m) very proud of him. When we needed him most, he was at his very best. Like I said, last two mistakes, he was perfect.

Junior 2B Bryce Blaum

On trying to make a comeback for the second time today against Duke…

Well, we expect it all game. We believe in each other. We knew if we would keep finding the barrel like we did all game that it would eventually fall. Unfortunately, in the second game, it didn’t. I’m just very happy to be a part of this group. It’s the closest group of guys that I’ve ever been a part of.

On today’s emotion…

It’s very emotional. These are your brothers, your best friend’s that you’ve been together for nights, months for. Our seniors that we had were the best group of leaders we would have asked for. Just having to not play on the same field as them and not in the same locker room as them anymore is going to be tough.

On refocusing after his walk-off grand slam vs. West Virginia earlier today

Well, baseball is all about the highs and lows, and Coach (Rob) Childress does a great job of - like he said earlier - emptying the tank. When you look left and right and see the relationship you’ve bonded with your brothers, you know that it was important for us to get to the second game, but we were going to give it a chance to bring it into tomorrow (Monday). It didn’t happen, but I love those guys.

Sophomore LHP Chandler Jozwiak

On today’s emotion…

The guys that are leaving have taught me so much, and I know Bryce (Blaum) would say the same. (John) Doxakis was huge for me. He taught how to pitch at the college level, and I’m going to miss him like crazy. Having to hug him after this game tonight was an unreal feeling. I’m going to miss him like crazy.