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Baseball Game Notes: Duke at Georgia Tech (April 2-4)
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 04/01/2010
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Freshman second baseman Marcus Stroman is part of a Duke team that ranks fifth in the nation in fielding percentage.
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Duke Baseball Game Notes
Duke (16-9, 3-6 ACC) at No. 3 Georgia Tech (22-3, 8-1 ACC)
April 2-4, 2010
Atlanta, Ga. (Russ Chandler Stadium)

Friday, April 2 (7 p.m.)
Duke Starter: Christopher Manno, LHP (1-0, 1.74 ERA)
Georgia Tech Starter: Deck McGuire, RHP (4-1, 1.17 ERA)

Saturday, April 3 (6 p.m.)
Duke Starter: Eric Pfisterer, LHP (2-2, 6.31 ERA)
Georgia Tech Starter: Brandon Cumpton, RHP (4-0, 5.29 ERA)

Sunday, April 4 (1 p.m.)
Duke Starter: Dennis O'Grady, RHP (0-0, 2.75 ERA)
Georgia Tech Starter: Jed Bradley, LHP (3-1, 3.82 ERA)

Duke Storylines

Giant Killer

  • Duke takes on its third ranked team of the season this weekend at No. 3 Georgia Tech.
  • Duke is 3-5 against top-25 teams this season with a series win over No. 11 North Carolina. Duke also picked up one win in a two-game set against No. 22 Georgia and dropped three games to No. 11 Miami.
  • In 2009, Duke went 8-11 against top-25 opponents with series wins over No. 1 North Carolina and No. 7 Georgia Tech.
  • Prior to the three-game loss to Miami this season, Duke had not been swept by a top-25 team since March 16-18, 2007, when Clemson won all three contests.

Last Time Against Georgia Tech

  • Duke battled back from a game-one loss to win two straight against the Yellow Jackets, ranked No. 7 at the time, in Durham.
  • Duke lost the opener 10-3, but notched a 6-4 win in game two and a 5-3 victory in game three to win the series.
  • Jake Lemmerman came up big with a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning of game three.
  • Game two featured a complete game from Duke starter Andrew Wolcott, who scattered four runs over a career-high 9.0 innings and was later named ACC Pitcher of the Week.
  • Alex Hassan also went 3-for-5 with three RBI, a home run and a triple in the game-two win for Duke.
  • Nate Freiman, playing with a broken bone in his hand, added two home runs in the series in his home finale at Jack Coombs Field.

Manno Rejoins Starting Rotation

  • Senior Christopher Manno, who made his first five appearances out of the bullpen this season, rejoined the starting rotation in the series versus Boston College.
  • Manno started the series opener against the Eagles and went seven innings, allowing just two hits and three runs.
  • Manno has a 1.74 ERA on the year and is holding opponents to a .167 average.
  • Manno has been one of Duke's best arms since his sophomore year when he set a school record with 12.27 strikeouts per nine innings.
  • Manno boasts a career strikeout rate of 9.98 K/9. He has 180 punchouts in 162.1 and ranks T-13th all-time at Duke in strikeouts.
  • As a junior, Manno was drafted in the 38th round by the Washington Nationals.

Getting Comfortable

  • Senior catcher Ryan McCurdy, who was converted to the position prior to this season, has improved dramatically at limiting opponents on the base paths.
  • Through his first 13 games, McCurdy caught just three of 14 runners trying to steal.
  • Through his last five games, however, McCurdy has caught five of 14 runners.
  • Below is a breakdown of how McCurdy has improved in that aspect of the game.

McCurdy Breaks ACC HBP Record

  • Duke senior Ryan McCurdy became the ACC's all-time hit by pitch leader when he took his 62nd career pitch in the series versus Boston College.
  • McCurdy broke the previous record of 61 held by Florida State's Karl Jernigan (1998-2001).
  • McCurdy ranks second nationally with 17 HBP this season and leads the country with an average of 0.85 HBP per game.
  • McCurdy set Duke's single-season record in the category as a sophomore when he took 27 pitches.

O'Grady Earns Spot In Rotation

  • Junior Dennis O'Grady was inserted in the third spot in the starting rotation in the series against North Carolina and has since been one of Duke's top starters.
  • O'Grady boasts a 3.15 ERA during that span, but is 0-1 with two no-decisions.
  • O'Grady has gone at least 6.0 innings in each of those three starts while giving up no more than three runs. He threw an eight-inning complete game against Boston College in his last turn.
  • O'Grady has just two walks during that 20-inning span.

Iron Man

  • Duke shortstop Jake Lemmerman is one of the best defensive shortstops in the nation.
  • The 6-2, 190 pound junior has a .980 fielding percentage this season, which leads all ACC shortstops by a large margin.
  • Lemmerman has just two errors in 2010 and just three faults in his last 43 games.
  • He is also one of Duke's top hitters with a team-leading six home runs, a .300 batting average and 23 RBI.

Run Producer

  • Sophomore Will Piwnica-Worms leads Duke with 26 runs scored and 27 RBI.
  • Piwnica-Worms has hit in the three, four or five spot in the batting order in all but two games.
  • Along with leading his ACC with five triples, Piwnica-Worms ranks tied for first in the conference with 17 extra-base hits.
  • He has six games with at least two RBI, including three three-RBI outings.
  • Piwnica-Worms has driven in an RBI in 16 of Duke's 25 games this season.

Griszled Veteran

  • Sophomore Ben Grisz has emerged as Duke's top reliever this season.
  • Grisz, a 6-1, 220 pound right-hander, has a 2.11 ERA over a team-high 11 appearances and 21.1 innings in relief.
  • He is 1-1 with three saves and has walked just three batters while striking out 22.
  • Grisz has logged all 21.1 innings out of the bullpen while throwing more than one inning seven times.
  • He has allowed just two home runs this season and has not thrown a wild pitch all year.

Duke = Defense

  • Duke ranks fifth nationally with a .980 fielding percentage and has committed the fewest errors in the ACC (19).
  • The Blue Devils have played errorless defense in 13 of 25 games.
  • Duke led the nation in fielding percentage with a .978 clip in 2008 and finished fourth with a school-record .979 clip in 2009.
  • In four-plus seasons under head coach Sean McNally, the Blue Devils have a .971 fielding percentage and just 280 errors, both of which rank first among ACC teams during that span.

Loaded In The Bullpen

  • Duke's bullpen has been among the best in the ACC this season and is currently 7-3 with seven saves and a 3.83 ERA.
  • Duke relievers have struck out 98 batters in 91.2 innings (9.62 K/9) while giving up just six home runs all season.
  • Thanks to that group, Duke is 11-3 when leading after the sixth inning and 15-0 when leading after the eighth.
  • Ben Grisz (2.11 ERA) leads the team with 11 relief appearances and 21.1 innings out of the bullpen.

Duke Freshmen Making Impact

  • Duke has used six different freshman in the starting lineup, including 3B Eric Brady, 2B/RHP Marcus Stroman and OF Mike Carroll, who have all started at least 13 games
  • Brady has started every game at third base, while Stroman has started 21 at second and Carroll has split 17 starts between the outfield and the DH.
  • Carroll ranks second on the team with a .310 batting average, while Stroman has seven extra-base hits and seven stolen bases. Brady has 14 RBI, five doubles and a home run.
  • Duke has also gotten four solid midweek starts from 6-6 right-hander Chase Bebout, who is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA. Duke has won all four games in which Bebout has started.
  • Devin Burke is also 2-1 this season as the second midweek starter.