Duke Advances to ACC Semifinals, Secures Fourth Straight 30-Win Season
With wins over No. 14 Clemson and No. 10 Virginia, Duke not only clinched the Pool D slot in the 2017 ACC Championship semifinals but also secured 30 wins for the fourth straight season. With 30 wins in 2017, Duke secured the program’s first stretch of four-straight 30-win seasons since the Blue Devils compiled a run of seven consecutive 30-win seasons from 1992-98.
Blue Devils in the MLB Draft
Three current Blue Devils and two Duke NLI signees were selected during the 2017 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Junior first baseman Justin Bellinger was taken by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22nd round, redshirt junior pitcher James Ziemba was selected in the 22nd round by the Los Angeles Angels and sophomore outfielder Jimmy Herron was picked in the 31st round by the New York Yankees. Bellinger began his professional career with AZL Reds, Ziemba was assigned to the Orem Owlz and Herron elected to return to Duke for his junior season. Head coach Chris Pollard has had 14 players drafted during his Duke tenure, including 11 pitchers and three position players.
In addition, the Detroit Tigers picked signee Steve Mann in the 38th round and the Oakland Athletics drafted signee Wil Hoyle in the 38th round. Both will join the Blue Devils for the 2017-18 season.
Conine's Breakout Season
A Rawlings/Perfect Game Midseason All-American, sophomore outfielder Griffin Conine collected his first career All-ACC honors after leading the Blue Devils in slugging percentage (.571), on base percentage (.437), RBI (56), triples (2), home runs (13), total bases (117) and walks (40) over the course of the regular season. Conine was the first Blue Devil to total 50-plus RBI in a season since first baseman Nate Freiman (62) in 2009. He is also the first Duke player with 10 or more home runs in a season since Jake Lemmerman (10) in 2010. In addition, Conine was selected to the roster for the eighth annual College Home Run Derby at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. July 1.
Herron's Sophomore Success
One of three Blue Devils to start every game in 2017, outfielder Jimmy Herron followed an impressive freshman season with a standout sophomore campaign. Herron was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 31st round after leading Duke in batting average (.326), doubles (17), runs (53), hits (74) and stolen bases (17). Herron became the first Duke outfielder drafted since 2009 when the Boston Red Sox chose Alex Hassan.
In two seasons at Duke, Herron owns a .325 batting average, good for 12th in the school’s all-time records. Herron also ranks 13th in school history with 41 career stolen bases.
Hendrix Breaks Pitching Appearances Record
Graduate student Nick Hendrix set the program record for career appearances, taking the mound 119 times for Duke. Hendrix broke David Darwin’s 21-year-old record (95) and finished his career ranked ninth all-time in ACC history. Hendrix bounced back from a head injury in 2015 to post Duke’s seventh-lowest career ERA (3.87) in the aluminum bat era (since 1974). Hendrix did not allow a run over his final 11 appearances, putting together a streak of 16.2 consecutive scoreless innings to close out his career. The 2017 All-ACC Academic Team selection completed the Fuqua School of Business’ Master of Management Studies program after graduating with a degree in economics in 2016.
Stallings and Day Anchor Rotation
Junior pitchers Mitch Stallings and Ryan Day both spent the two previous seasons in the Duke bullpen before anchoring the Blue Devil weekend rotation in 2017. Stallings recorded seven quality starts this past season as Duke’s Friday starter, leading the team in innings (76.0) and strikeouts (74). Day was the only ACC pitcher to throw 1.0 innings per game and not allow a home run to rank 12th in the league in ERA (3.30), fifth in walks allowed (17), third in doubles allowed (7) and fifth in WHIP (1.10)
Six Blue Devils earned All-ACC Academic Team honors in junior starting pitcher Ryan Day, graduate student relief pitcher Nick Hendrix, sophomore outfielder Jimmy Herron, sophomore shortstop Zack Kone, senior relief pitcher Kevin Lewallyn and junior designated hitter/outfielder Michael Smiciklas. Duke’s six selections ranked third in the conference behind only Louisville (10) and Clemson (7). To earn All-ACC Academic Team honors, a student-athlete must have a 3.0 GPA for the previous semester and a 3.0 cumulative GPA during their academic career. In addition, 22 Duke players earned a spot on the 2017 ACC Academic Honor Roll, which recognizes all conference student-athletes with a GPA of 3.0 for the current academic year.
Blue Devils Graduation
Three Blue Devils received undergraduate degrees in the spring of 2017 while three completed graduate coursework. Seniors Karl Blum, Kevin Lewallyn and James Ziemba graduated with degrees in Sociology, Political Science and Computer Science, respectively. In addition, Thomas Crispi, Nick Hendrix and Jalen Phillips all completed the Fuqua School of Business’ Market and Management Studies program.
|Individual Offensive Leaders|
|Batting Average||Jimmy Herron||.326|
|Slugging Percentage||Griffin Conine||.496|
|On Base Percentage||Griffin Conine||.425|
|Doubles||Jack Labosky / Jimmy Herron||17|
|Triples||4 tied at ...||2|
|Home Runs||Griffin Conine||13|
|Total Bases||Griffin Conine||119|
|Hit by Pitch||Max Miller||10|
|Sac Bunts||Chris Proctor / Max Miller||4|
|Sac Flies||3 tied at ...||5|
|Stolen Bases||Jimmy Herron||17|
|Individual Pitching Leaders|
|Earned Run Average||Ryan Day||3.30|
|Opposing Batting Average||Ryan Day||.233|
|Wins||Ryan Day / Adam Laskey / Mitch Stallings||4|
|Innings Pitched||Mitch Stallings||76.0|
|Games Started||Adam Laskey||14|
|Games in Relief||Nick Hendrix||33|
|Honors and Awards|
|Justin Bellinger (22nd Round, Cincinnati Reds)|
|James Ziemba (22nd Round, Los Angeles Angels)|
|Jimmy Herron (31st Round, New York Yankees)|
|Wil Hoyle * (38th Round, Oakland Athletics)|
|Steve Mann * (38th Round, Detroit Tigers)|
|* Denotes NLI Signee|
|Griffin Conine (2nd Team)|
|ACC All-Tournament Team|
|ACC Player of the Week|
|Jimmy Herron (March 13)|
|Johnny Bench Award Watch List|
|All-ACC Academic Team|
|ACC Academic Honor Roll|