clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ACC Tournament Opponent Preview: Duke

New, 280 comments

Meet the Blue Devils... All that’s standing between NC State and an ACC Tournament Title

COLLEGE BASEBALL: APR 08 Duke at Miami Photo by Richard C. Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Duke

Mascot: Blue residents of hell | School Location: Durham, NC | Conference: ACC

2021 Record: 31-20 (16-17, T-5th Coastal) | 2021 RPI Rank: 23

2020 Record: 12-4 (2-1, T-2nd Coastal) | 2019 RPI Rank: 78

2019 Record: 35-27 (15-15, 4th Coastal) | 2018 RPI Rank: 32


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Truist Field (Charlotte, NC)

Game Time(s): Sun, May 30 @ 12:00pm

TV: ESPN2 / WatchESPN

Radio: GoPack Radio

Live Stats: Stat Broadcast


Tell me about this team

Chris Pollard is a magician.

That’s about all that can be said. The man won a conference title and made an NCAA Regional at Appalachian State, a program that since the 1990’s has been starved for winning records, yet alone those levels of accomplishments. And then at Duke, a program whose most succcessful run over the last 50 years is confined to fewer years than it takes most of the campus’ doctoral candidates to complete their work, Pollard has notched the only 40-win season in program history, as well as guiding the Blue Devils to three NCAA Regionals and two Super Regionals.

Again... Chris Pollard is a magician. With LSU’s Paul Mainieri announcing his retirement at the end of this season, Pollard has to be on the short list of preferred candidates to take over the reigns of that program. And that goes despite Pollard having zero ties to that program or region. Exceptional coaching will defeat most everything else.

This Duke team is typical of a Pollard coached squad. They can hit for both average and power, and they’re aggressive on the bases, although it’s really just four players who like to push the issue on swiping bags. They’re not the most adept at working counts and are a bit more free swinging as a team than others, but - hey, man - go big or go home, right?

Pitching wise, they’re solid. Not a ton of power arms that rack up the strikeouts, but strike-throwers who don’t give up a ton of free bases. If they’re going to let you on by a freebie, it’s probably going to be from wearing a pitch while they’re challenging inside. The bullpen isn’t elite, but it’s deep.

If there’s a weakness for this team, it’s fielding. They ranked 13th in ACC play in team fielding percentage and had the fourth lowest rate of throwing out base stealers.

This is going to be a tough game.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Saturday: TBD... but probably RHP Cooper Stinson (JR)


Key Players:

Offense

CF Joey Loperfido (SR) - .365/.469/.593, 16 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 51 R, 27 RBI, 23 BB, 48 K, 14 HBP, 11-14 SB. Team leader and leadoff hitter. 2nd Team All-ACC this year and a Freshman All-American in 2018. Hit two homers in the semifinal win over Virginia yesterday in a 4-for-5 effort.

LF R.J. Schreck (JR) - .337/.441/.611, 7 2B, 15 HR, 44 R, 47 RBI, 27 BB, 40 K, 11-12 SB. 3rd Team All-ACC selection. Solid all-around hitter from the left side with serious pop and decent speed. This has been a breakout season that has put him firmly on the MLB Draft radar.

RF Peter Matt (SR) - .296/.357/.537, 11 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR, 41 R, 36 RBI, 21 BB, 64 K, 14-15 SB. Transfer from Penn, where he was a 1st Team All-Ivy League performer. Strikeout machine, but when he puts it in play, he hits it hard.

SS Ethan Murray (JR) - .297/.399/.427, 11 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 29 R, 19 RBI, 32 BB, 42 K, 10-15 SB. Freshman All-American in 2019. Talented with the bat. Struggled defense on defense earlier this year, but has just 1 error in the last 16 games.

Pitching

RHP Cooper Stinson (JR) - 2-3, 5.87 ERA, 53.2 IP, 44 H, 30 BB, 43 K. Younger brother of former Duke pitcher and 4th round MLB pick Graeme Stinson. Big bodied (6’6, 240) RHP, but serious control issues. Best pitch is his slider. Fastball is also a good pitch, but is inconsistent in terms of velocity (and obviously location)

RHP Marcus Johnson (SO) - 5-3, 6 SV, 3.10 ERA, 52.1 IP, 36 H, 12 BB, 56 K. Team’s preferred closer. 6’6’ righthander. Hasn’t allowed a run over his last 6 outings, spanning 11.2 IP.

RHP Jimmy Loper (rSO) - 2-1, 5 SV, 3.10 ERA, 40.2 IP, 42 H, 9 BB, 38 K. The team’s secondary closer after Johnson. Also hasn’t allowed a run over his last 6 outings, spanning 12.1 IP.

LHP Matt Dockman (SR) - 1-1, 0 SV, 3.94 ERA, 29.2 IP, 23 H, 16 BB, 35 K. Most experienced bullpen arm and top left-handed relief option for the Blue Devils. Four straight scoreless outings for Dockman. Career 3.38 ERA over 77 outings (106.2 IP).

RHP Billy Seidl (SO) - 4-0, 0 SV, 6.14 ERA, 22.0 IP, 18 H, 6 BB, 30 K. Highly touted player out of Massachusetts. Older brother was an outfielder at Harvard.


Quick! Fun Facts!

This is the first appearance in the ACC Tournament Championship Game in program history for Duke.

Duke is on an 11-game winning streak.

The Wolfpack and Blue Devils have not met in the ACC Tournament since 2001 (a 5-3 NC State victory).

Duke OF Peter Matt holds the NCAA record for at-bats in a game with 12 (from a 21-inning game he played against Dartmouth while at Penn).


Prediction

Duke has the depth of arms to continue to challenge NC State hitters. The Wolfpack bullpen will be depleted after Evan Justice went yesterday, but with a championship on the line, you can be sure he’ll be available again today to follow Chris Villaman and/or Matt Willadsen.

Outcome: The Wolfpack complete what has to be the best in-season turnaround in program history, capturing the ACC title in an extremely hard-fought, relatively high scoring game.