Duke baseball set to host Richmond in season’s home finale
There will be one last game played in Durham, N.C., this season.
Tuesday marks the final game for the Duke seniors at Jack Coombs Field as the Blue Devils host the Richmond Spiders at 6 p.m.
After being swept out of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park last weekend by Miami, Duke (30-21) will look to rebound against the Spiders (22-24-1). Although the Blue Devil offense was stifled during the weekend series by the Hurricanes’ strong pitching, Duke’s bats have been livelier throughout the past month than they had to start the season.
Junior Andy Perez has found his swing and is currently riding a 12-game hit streak. Before the streak, Perez was hovering just above the Mendoza line with a .214 batting average but has seen his average improve to .275 during his recent tear.
The focus, though, will be on the senior bats Tuesday night, particularly that of third baseman Jordan Betts. Betts is having a career year with career highs in batting average at .319, slugging percentage at .512 and on-base percentage at .407, which rank 14th, fifth and 20th in the ACC, respectively.
Senior outfielder Mark Lumpa currently leads the nation in walks with 46 and has a knack for finding home plate after he reaches base, as he leads Duke with 43 runs scored. Senior designated hitter and utility fielder Matt Berezo has had a great season at the plate as well with the second-highest batting average on the team at .315.
Duke’s pitching has been its strong suit all season and the Blue Devils will look for a final solid showing as well. Senior closer Robert Huber is currently third in the ACC with 10 saves on the year and is only the third Blue Devil ever to record double-digit saves in a season. Senior right-hander Drew Van Orden will more than likely see some action Tuesday after coming off of a sub-par start by his standards Friday against Miami, allowing five earned runs in 6.2 innings of work.
Following Tuesday’s matchup, Duke will head down to Tallahassee, Fla., to face No. 4 Florida State in the final series of the season. The Blue Devils will clinch an above .500 conference record for the first time since 1994 with one win in the three-game series against the Seminoles.