Duke beats Texas A&M 8-5 in NCAA tournament opener

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Erikson Nichols and Rudy Maxwell each hit three-run homers Friday and Duke held on to beat Texas A&M 8-5 in the opening game of the NCAA Morgantown regional.

Third-seeded Duke (32-25) is looking to reach the super regionals for the second straight year after capturing the regional last year in Athens, Georgia.

Duke starter Ben Gross (7-4) allowed one run and scattered four hits over seven innings. Second-seeded Texas A&M (37-22-1) scored four times in the ninth, but Ty Condel grounded out with two runners on base to end it.

Six of Duke's 11 hits went for extra bases. Nichols and Kyle Gallagher each had three hits.

Nichols homered during a four-run fourth inning off Texas A&M starter John Doxakis (7-4).

Duke added four runs in the eighth. Michael Rothenberg doubled and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Bryce Miller. Maxwell, a freshman, then hit a pinch-hit homer off Joseph Menefee.

UP NEXT

The Aggies play an elimination game Saturday at 1 p.m. against the loser of Friday evening’s game between Fordham and West Virginia.

SCORING SUMMARY
T4 | With one out, Michael Rothenberg singled to leftfield and Kyle Gallagher singled to center. Erikson Nichols hit a three-run home run over the leftfield fence. Chris Crabtree kept the rally going with a double to centerfield, moved to third on a wild pitch and came home to score on a grounder to second by R.J. Schreck. DU 4, A&M 0.

B5 | Hunter Coleman hit a leadoff double to leftfield, moved to third on a fly ball by Ty Coleman and scored on a sacrifice fly by Braden Shewmake. DU 4, A&M 1.

T8 | Aggie reliever Bryce Miller received a rude greeting with Rothenberg doubling to centerfield and Gallagher singling up the middle to put runners on the corners. Rothenberg scored on a wild pitch and Nichols singled through the right side to give Duke runners at first and third again. Joseph Menefee spelled Miler on the mound and gave up a three-run, pinch-hit home run to Rudy Maxwell. DU 8, A&M 1.

B9 | With one out, Jonathan DUcoff was hit by a pitch and Logan Foster drew a walk. DeLoach threaded a single through the right side to plate Ducoff. Hunter Coleman was hit by a pitch to fill the bags with Ags. Foster came home on a wild pitch and DeLoach scored on a passed ball. Ty Coleman bounced a single up the middle to drive in his brother. The second out of the inning came on a fielder’s choice grounder by Shewmake, retiring Ty Coleman at second. After Bryce Blaum was hit by a pitch, Ty Condel came to bat as a pinch-hitter and grounded out to short to end the game. DU 8, A&M 5.