DURHAM, N.C. - With a trip to league opponent Clemson on the horizon, the Duke baseball team will step out of the Atlantic Coast Conference for a game against in-state foe Charlotte Wednesday at 6 p.m., at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The Blue Devils are 10-10 overall and 2-3 in ACC action heading into Wednesday's matchup after Virginia Tech swept a three-game series from Duke over the weekend.
Left-hander Trent Swart was outstanding Friday, posting seven scoreless innings in his fifth start of the season. The Carlsbad, Calif., native scattered six hits and struck out seven batters as Duke led 1-0 heading into the top of the eighth. However, the Hokies would tie in the game in the eighth on a solo home run by Alex Perez before Virginia Tech scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th.
Swart has been very consistent in his five outings this season and leads the Duke staff with a 1.45 ERA and 31 strikeouts. Among the ACC leaders, Swart ranks seventh in ERA (1.45) and ninth in opponent batting average (.209). He is also averaging 9.00 strikeouts per nine innings, good for fifth in the league.
Virginia Tech wasted little time putting runs on the board Saturday, jumping out a 5-0 advantage in the first inning. The Blue Devils were able to cut the deficit to three in the second and seventh frames, but the Hokies had an answer on both occasions. Sophomore Andy Perez and redshirt sophomore Chris Marconcini each belted a home run in the contest.
Marconcini, who missed the 2012 campaign due to injury, currently leads the team in home runs (5), slugging percentage (.544), runs scored (17), RBI (17) and walks (14). He ranks tied for second in the league in home runs and is one of just two ACC players, along with NC State's Trea Turner, to total five home runs as well as five or more stolen bases on the season.
Tied 2-2 after three innings Sunday, Virginia Tech outscored Duke 4-0 the rest of the way to secure a 6-2 victory in the series finale. The Hokies totaled 10 hits on the day, compared to nine for the Blue Devils, but were able to come up with key hits throughout the game, plating four of their six runs with two outs. Perez completed a standout weekend for Duke with a 3-for-4 performance. Over the three-game set, Perez went 8-for-14 (.571) with two doubles, a triple and a home run. The triple and home run were both the first of Perez's career.
Since moving to the leadoff spot in the Duke order, Perez has been Duke's hottest hitter, batting .386 over the past 14 games. He has registered at least one hit in 12 of those contests, including multiple hits in eight games during that span.
Charlotte is 14-5 (0-0 Atlantic 10) heading into Wednesday's meeting with the Blue Devils. The 49ers are coming off a four-game sweep of Siena this past weekend. Charlotte is hitting .303 as a team in 2013, led by Justin Seager (.437 avg., 10 2B, 2 HR) and Brad Elwood (.408 Avg., 5 2B, 2 HR).
Wednesday's game marks the eighth meeting between the two schools as Duke leads the all-time series, 5-2. The Blue Devils defeated the 49ers, 12-5, in Charlotte last season. Duke also picked up a 4-1 victory over Charlotte Mar. 16, 2011 in Durham. The two teams first met back in 1902 with Charlotte winning the inaugural meeting, 11-1. Duke and Charlotte also met in 1903, 1984 and twice in 1987.
Next up, Duke travels to Clemson for a three-game series Friday-Sunday, Mar. 23-26. The first pitch of game one is set for 6:30 p.m., Friday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.