DURHAM, N.C. – Duke will play its final home series this weekend when ACC rival Wake Forest comes to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for a three-game set on Friday through Sunday, May 13-15.
During this weekend's series, the Blue Devils (23-26, 5-19 ACC) will honor two-way senior pitcher Dennis O'Grady during the team’s Senior Day ceremony. O’Grady has emerged as Duke’s top starter this season and will make his 23rd consecutive weekend start on Saturday. The 5-10, 200-pound right-hander is 5-3 with a career-best 3.77 ERA while setting career highs in innings pitched (71.2), strikeouts (61) and starts (12) this year.
O’Grady, who also sports a .275 batting average, 23 runs and 17 RBI when not on the mound, has appeared in over 100 games as a position player while throwing over 200 innings on the mound. Duke fans will get their last chance to see the Floral Park, N.Y., native pitch on his home field this weekend where he 5-1 with a 2.52 ERA at Duke’s two home venues.
O’Grady makes up one third of Duke’s starting rotation alongside Friday starter Chase Bebout (2-3, 3.55 ERA) and Sunday starter Marcus Stroman (2-4, 3.11 ERA). Bebout will make his return to the rotation after making his last start on March 11 when he was forced to leave after five shutout innings when he was by in the wrist by a line drive. After making a handful of relief appearances since then, he will rejoin the rotation where he owns a 1.57 ERA as a starter.
Those three will have a difficult test this weekend, however, as the Demon Deacons have two of the ACC’s top home run hitters in Carlos Lopez and Mac Williamson who are tied for second in the league with nine homers apiece. The long ball has not been hard to come by for Wake Forest, which ranks third in the ACC with 43 homers. The Demon Deacons are also aggressive on the base paths with 81 stolen bases in 100 attempts, good for an 81 percent success rate.
Wake Forest’s roster includes one of the nation’s top base stealers in Steven Brooks, who has stolen 24 bases and been caught just twice all season. Brooks matched a school record earlier this season when he stole five bases in one game.
Wake Forest will use its normal weekend rotation of left-handers Brian Holmes (2-3, 2.84 ERA), Tim Cooney (6-2, 2.55 ERA) and Austin Stadler (1-7, 9.95 ERA). Those three contributed to a three-game sweep over Boston College last weekend in which the Deacon pitching staff allowed just nine runs for the entire series.
Following Duke’s home finale, the Blue Devils will play their final midweek game of the year at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday, May 17. Duke will then head to Coral Gables, Fla., for a three-game ACC series at Miami on May 19-21.