Rocky Mount exploded for seven runs in the fourth inning and the Pines dealt Alexandria its fourth straight Sunday afternoon loss, 8-3, before 409 yesterday at Four Mile Run Park.
Duke starter Mark Smith (0-1), coming off the disabled list to make his first appearance since May 9, breezed through the first three innings before encountering trouble in the fourth. Ed Connors walked, Gray Cicatiello singled, and Smith hit Larry Caprio to load the bases with no outs.
Harry White then doubled on the first pitch to clear the bases. After Ray Jablonski walked, Smith fanned O.J. Bradley and retired Frank Vasquez on a grounder to first and it appeared he might escape without further damage.
But Smith's wild pitch scorced White, and Jim Gasbella singled to left to knock him out. Bill Cropper replaced Smith and was greeted by Connors' two-run double before he struck out Cicatiello to end the inning.
The Dukes left the bases loaded in the fourth before scoring all of their runs in the fifth. Jerry Neufang and Woody Holland led off with singles and Neufang moved to third on Carlos Matamoros' fly out. Roberto Dennis struck out, but Chris Hudson singled for a run. Brian Dayett beat out an infield roller to load the bases, and Bob Boyce walked, forcing in a run.
David Thomas relieved Pines' starter Scott Gibson and walked Greg Jemison for another run, slammed the door on the Dukes for the rest of the game. Thomas allowed only two hits in 4 1/3 innings to gain his first decision.