DURHAM, N.C. – For the second consecutive season and second time in program history, Duke (34-25, 15-15 ACC) is headed to an NCAA Super Regional as the Blue Devils face No. 2 national seed Vanderbilt (52-10, 23-7 SEC) at Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn., June 7-9.
The Commodores host the Blue Devils first at 6 p.m. (ET), Friday, June 7 on ESPN2. Saturday’s matchup is set for 9 p.m. (ET) on ESPNU while Sunday’s if necessary game is scheduled for 3 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2.
Series History vs. The Commodores
Friday’s contest to open the NCAA Nashville Super Regional will the just the fourth matchup between Duke and Vanderbilt in program history. The Commodores own the series advantage over the Blue Devils, 1-2, with all three matchups coming in Nashville. The two teams met for a weekend series to open the 2018 season, with Vanderbilt taking the bookend games of the three-game set to secure the series win. Duke fell in game one, 9-1, before bouncing back with a 5-4 victory in game two to even the series. The Commodores claimed the series finale, 9-1, in the rubber match of the series to earn the series victory. Head coach Chris Pollard also owns a 1-2 career record against Vanderbilt.
Recapping the Morgantown Regional
Duke went a perfect 3-0 last weekend to sweep the NCAA Morgantown Regional and earn its second consecutive NCAA Super Regional appearance. The Blue Devils defeated second-seeded Texas A&M, 8-5, in the opening round before taking down top-seeded West Virginia, 4-0, to advance to the regional finals. In the final matchup of the weekend, Duke downed Texas A&M, 4-1, Sunday evening to secure the regional victory and advance in the NCAA Tournament. Five Blue Devils were named to NCAA Morgantown Regional All-Tournament Team in junior Erikson Nichols, sophomores Bryce Jarvis and Chris Crabtree, graduate students Ben Gross and Kyle Gallagher. Jarvis was selected as the regional’s Most Valuable Player for his career performance against West Virginia, when he tossed eight shutout innings, collecting a career-high 11 strikeouts.
Program Trending Upward
The Blue Devils are headed to their second consecutive, and the program’s second, NCAA Super Regional. Duke is also making its third NCAA Tournament appearance in four years. The last time Duke won two consecutive NCAA Regional championships in the NCAA postseason was the 1952 and 1953 seasons, when the team made back-to-back runs to Omaha. The Blue Devils are making their eighth overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament, owning a record of 26-17 in the postseason. Duke has been to three College World Series, with the last appearance coming in 1961.
Dockman, Davis and Girard Bolster Bullpen
The trio of sophomore Matt Dockman, senior co-captain Hunter Davis and sophomore Thomas Girard have bolstered the Duke bullpen across the 2019 season, combining for 13 of the team’s 17 saves. Dockman has been Duke’s go-to arm as of late, posting scoreless appearances in eight of his last nine outings, while Davis and Girard rank first and second on the Blue Devil pitching staff in ERA. Davis sports a team-low ERA of 1.47 (6 ER/36.2 IP), while Girard owns a mark of 2.15 (11 ER/46.0 IP). Girard is a perfect nine-for-nine on save opportunities this season to tie for third in the ACC and lead the team. The trio has combined for a 2.37 ERA (32 ER/121.1 IP) across their 69 appearances this season.