DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke baseball team returns to ACC action this weekend, playing host to Virginia Tech in a three-game series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Game times are 6 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
Follow the Action
The Blue Devil Network will stream live video all three games and Steve Barnes will call the action for the audio broadcast. Live stats are also available through GoDuke.com while fans cans also follow updates of each game via @Duke_BASE, the official Twitter account of Duke baseball.
Duke (10-7, 2-1 ACC) posted a 4-1 record over the past week, taking two-of-three from then-No. 24 Miami before earning a pair of midweek wins against N.C. Central and Quinnipiac.
Virginia Tech is 13-5 on the season after splitting a pair of nonconference midweek games. The Hokies defeated Charlotte, 6-1, Tuesday before dropping a 4-3 decision at Elon Wednesday. The Hokies are 1-2 in ACC action following a three-game series against Georgia Tech this past weekend.
Virginia Tech Series History
Friday's game marks the 49th meeting between Duke and Virginia Tech as the Blue Devils lead the all-time series 27-21. In 2012, Duke swept the Hokies in Blacksburg, Va., taking the series opener 5-3 before registering wins Saturday and Sunday by scores of 13-0 and 5-3, respectively. The Blue Devils are 17-11 when facing the Hokies in Durham, N.C.
Duke in the ACC
The Blue Devils enter the Virginia Tech series with a 2-1 mark in ACC play this season. Duke finished in sixth in the Coastal Division a season ago with a 9-21 record in conference games. The Blue Devils are 338-689-5 in Atlantic Coast Conference games all-time. Duke holds a 647-995-6 record against teams currently in the ACC: Boston College (8-15), Clemson (65-124), Florida State (18-71), Georgia Tech (30-83), Maryland (84-81), Miami (7-26), North Carolina (93-179-3), NC State (124-148), Virginia (54-95-1), Virginia Tech (29-21), Wake Forest (135-152-2).
Pollard Begins First Season at Duke
Duke head coach Chris Pollard is in his first season with the Blue Devil baseball program. Pollard has a 395-325-3 career record in his 14th season as a head coach: Duke (present), Appalachian State (2005-12) and Pfeiffer (2000-04).
Duke Offense in March
After starting the season with a team average of .205 through the seven games in February, the Blue Devil bats have heated up in March. Duke is hitting .290 since the first of the month as six Blue Devils - Mike Rosenfeld (.480), Kenny Koplove (.381), Jeff Kremer (.368), Andy Perez (.359), Chris Marconcini (.313) and Matt Berezo (.300) - are hitting over .300 in March.
The Blue Devils have committed 13 errors thus far in the season as Duke boasts a .976 fielding percentage, good for second in the ACC. Over the past six seasons, Duke has earned the reputation as a strong defensive team. From 2008-10, the Blue Devils posted fielding percentages of at least .975 and led the ACC in fielding percentage in two of those seasons. The Blue Devils also led the nation in fielding percentage in 2008, posting a .978 mark.
Rosenfeld Off to Hot Start
After leading the Blue Devils with a .312 average in 2012, junior catcher Mike Rosenfeld has picked up right where he left off, hitting .408 to start the season. The Mamaroneck, N.Y., native ranks sixth in the ACC in batting average (.408), tied for third in doubles (7) and eighth in slugging percentage (.592). Rosenfeld has five multi-hit games this season, including three, three-hit games.
Marconcini Returns in 2013
After missing last season due to injury, redshirt sophomore Chris Marconcini has returned to start all 17 games this season. Through 17 games, Marconcini is hitting .273 with 15 RBI and 15 runs scored. He currently leads the team in home runs (4), walks (13), runs scored (15) and RBI (15). Marconcini is one of just five ACC players with four or more home runs to start the season. His four homers in 2013 also matches his total from the 2011 campaign, a season in which he garnered Freshman All-America honors. The redshirt sophomore was Duke's top hitter as a rookie, leading the team in doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, total bases and slugging percentage while splitting time between first base and right field.
Perez Sparks Duke Offense
Since moving to the leadoff spot against Campbell Feb. 27, sophomore second baseman Andy Perez is hitting .326 (14-for-43) with three doubles, three RBI and 10 runs scored. Prior to the move, Perez hit in the six spot and was 3-for-16 (.188) through the first seven games of the season. With Perez as the leadoff hitter, Duke's is hitting .281 as a team, compared to .209 prior to the switch. The Roswell, Ga., native is 4-for-10 when leading off the first inning for the Blue Devils. He has reached base in the first frame in six-of-12 games, scoring four runs. Perez also leads the team with nine stolen bases, a mark which ranks tied for third in the ACC, and is second on the squad with 14 runs scored.
Betts Provides Consistent Presence at Third
Junior third baseman Jordan Betts has started all 128 games in his Duke career, including all 17 games at third base this season. Over three seasons, Betts has started 126 games at third and two at shortstop. The Wilmington, N.C., native is Duke's active career leader in doubles (36), home runs (8) and RBI (63).
Setting Up the Rotation
Duke will use the starting rotation of Trent Swart, Drew Van Orden and Robert Huber for the third consecutive weekend.
Sophomore LHP Swart has been very consistent in his first four outings of the season. The Carlsbad, Calif., native is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 24 strikeouts. He has pitched at least five innings in each of his four starts this season and tied a career high with 10 strikeouts against Bucknell Feb. 22. In addition, Swart's 1.88 ERA is tops on the Blue Devil staff and ranks 17th in the ACC.
Junior RHP Drew Van Orden has 25 strikeouts to his name in 2013 and ranks tied for seventh in the conference in strikeouts per game (9.64). He struck out a career-high 13 batters in Duke's 2-0 win over Bucknell Feb. 23. For the season, Van Orden is 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA.
Junior RHP Robert Huber is 2-1 on the season. He has struck out 20 batters in six apperances while posting a 4.58 ERA. Huber pitched two scoreless innings in relief against Miami Mar. 8, striking out five of the six batters he faced to help Duke to a 4-2 win.
Freshmen in the Duke Lineup
All five freshmen on Duke's roster have seen playing time in 2013.
Left-hander Nick Hendrix has contributed valuable innings out of the Duke bullpen and is currently tied for fifth in the league with nine appearances. He earned his first career save Mar. 3, throwing two scoreless innings against Towson. Hendrix struck out a career-best four batters at Miami Mar. 9. For the season, he owns a 3.27 ERA with 10 strikeouts.
Shortstop Kenny Koplove moved into the starting lineup against Campbell Feb. 27. In 10 games, Koplove is hitting .360 with five runs scored and four RBI. Against Miami, he went 5-for-9 with a double and three runs scored. Koplove's .556 average in league play currently ranks fourth among all ACC players.
Righty James Marvel has started four games on the mound in 2013. The right-hander is 1-2 with eight strikeouts over 20.0 innings pitched and currently sports a 5.85 ERA.
Right-hander Michael Matuella earned his first career start against Penn and led the Blue Devils to a 8-1 victory. He tossed 5.0 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits. For the season, Matuella has made six apperances and is 2-1 with a 1.72 ERA and eight strikeouts.
Istler Tied for ACC Lead in Saves
Sophomore RHP/OF Andrew Istler has served as Duke's closer in 2013 and is currently tied for first in the ACC with four saves. In eight appearances this season, Istler is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA. He has allowed two runs on just two hits in 10.2 innings of work, striking out 10 batters. The Wellington, Fla., native has also started 12 games in left field and is 7-for-46 (.152) at the plate with a home run and four RBI. Istler was named the top prospect out of the Coastal Plain League this past summer according to Baseball America. Istler went 3-0 with the Wilson Tobs, posting a 0.68 ERA in six starts. He recorded a 39:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio and allowed just 19 hits in 46 innings.
Next week, Duke faces in-state opponent Charlotte at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park Wednesday at 6 p.m. The Blue Devils will then travel to Clemson for a three-game series over the weekend, starting with a 6:30 p.m. game Friday.