DURHAM, N.C. – After a weekend sweep over then-No. 16, the 25th-ranked Blue Devils look to carry their momentum into this week’s matchup.
Duke is set for a midweek clash with NC Central, marking the second installment of a home-and-home series between the Blue Devils and Eagles. The first pitch between the two Durham schools is set for 6 p.m. at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Duke owns a perfect 24-0 record in the all-time series over NC Central, including a 20-0 mark in home contests.
Duke and NC Central will meet for the 25th time in program history when the two Durham schools square off in Tuesday’s midweek matchup, marking the second of a home-and-home series between the two this season. The Blue Devils are a perfect 24-0 in the all-time series, including a 20-0 mark in home games against the Eagles. Duke and NC Central met earlier this season on April 9, where the Blue Devils came away with a 7-5 victory, thanks to a pair of late runs in the ninth inning. Head coach Chris Pollard holds a 14-0 career record over NC Central during his time at Duke.
Trending for Duke
The Blue Devils look to carry their momentum into this week, after notching a series win over then-No. 16 Clemson, marking the squad’s third consecutive ACC series win. Duke used a comeback effort in Friday’s series opener to claim a 9-8 victory before clinching the series with a 5-3 win over Clemson in game two of the series Saturday afternoon. The Blue Devils used a late solo home run from junior Matt Mervis to power to a 9-8 victory in the series finale Sunday afternoon to secure the series sweep. The series sweep over the Tigers marked the program’s first series win at Clemson since 1993, and the first series sweep at Clemson since 1948. The Blue Devils have won their last five games, inlcluding a 13-6 win in the midweek matchup last Tuesday against then-No. 16 Texas Tech at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Back in the Convo
With its hot streak as of late, Duke returned into the Top 25 this week after a five-week absence. The Blue Devils are ranked 25th in the Collegiate Baseball poll, while also receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Duke jumped 28 spots in the RPI after its perfect 4-0 record last week as the team now sits at No. 50 in the RPI heading into the week.
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The Blue Devil pitching staff has been impressive this season, recording 409 strikeouts to rank second in the ACC, while placing eighth in the nation. The Blue Devils are eighth in the country in strikeouts per nine innings with 10.2, while also ranking second in the league in that category. Ten different Duke pitchers have recorded 20+ strikeouts this season to contribute to the team’s totals. Freshman Cooper Stinson leads the way with 62 strikeouts, while graduate student Ben Gross is second with 49 punchouts. Duke is on pace to record 552 strikeouts this season, which would set a school single-season record. The current record is 501, which was set in 2014.