DURHAM, N.C. — Andrew Istler was tremendous on the mound, propelling Duke to a 2-1 victory against No. 6 Louisville to even the series Saturday afternoon at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Istler (3-2) allowed just one run over the course of seven standout innings. The righthander scattered six hits and struck out 10 batters, marking his second double-digit strikeout performance of the season.
The win marked the 18th of Istler’s career, which ties him for 10th in the Duke record books. In addition, his 3.18 career ERA is currently the seventh-best in program history.
With the win, Duke (22-14, 5-15 ACC) snapped Louisville’s (26-8, 15-2) streak of 14 consecutive conference victories. The Cardinals had not dropped an ACC decision since a 9-5 setback March 7 at then-No. 10 Miami.
Mitch Stallings pitched around a one-out walk to blank Louisville in the eighth before giving way to closer Kenny Koplove. Koplove struck out the side in the ninth, including fanning two batters with runners in scoring position to end the game. He took a spill over the Louisville dugout railing trying to grab a foul ball popup, but stayed in to preserve the Duke 2-1 margin and record his seventh save of the season.
Louisville’s Brendan McKay (5-1) suffered his first loss of the season despite a solid pitching performance. McKay surrendered two runs, one earned, on four hits. He walked one and struck out eight in seven innings.
After being shut out the night before, Duke went to work early to manufacture a run in the first. Andy Perez laced a two-strike single through the left side, followed by a Max Miller walk. Peter Zyla and redshirt senior Mike Rosenfeld laid down back-to-back sacrifice bunts to put Duke up 1-0.
Istler cruised through the first three frames, retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced with six strikeouts, before Louisville registered three singles in the fourth to knot the score at 1-1. Nick Solak led off with an infield single and advanced on a Duke throwing error. Corey Ray drove in the Cardinals’ lone run of the game with an RBI single.
Duke’s pitching staff kept the Louisville offense in check the rest of the way as the Cardinals totaled two hits over the final five frames.
The Blue Devils regained the lead with an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth. Zyla extended his current hit streak to five games, roping a two-out single to left field. Rosenfeld lifted a fly ball to the outfield which popped out of the Louisville right fielder’s glove after he ran into the center fielder. Zyla hustled around the bases and scored the go-ahead run.