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No break for Blue Devils after losses to UM

Duke goes into a road matchup with Davidson on the back of a three-game sweep by ACC rival Miami.
Duke goes into a road matchup with Davidson on the back of a three-game sweep by ACC rival Miami.

After an emotional weekend series victory over then-No.11 North Carolina to run their win streak to 11 out of 12 games, the Blue Devils hit a wall against No. 11 Miami last weekend. Duke (12-7) looks to get back on track against Davidson (13-7) Tuesday night at Wilson Field in Davidson, N.C.

The Blue Devils came away winless from their three-game set against Miami, managing just eight extra-base hits in the series while committing five errors and allowing four unearned runs.

“Our defense wasn’t particularly good, and our offense was just OK,” head coach Sean McNally said.

Davidson, meanwhile, won two of three games on the road against Southern Conference rival Furman last weekend. The Wildcats bashed eight extra-base hits in the finale alone, including four home runs.

Duke will try to resume its winning ways Tuesday night behind 6-foot-6 freshman righthander Chase Bebout, who has posted quality efforts in both of his midweek starts. The Blue Devils, who rank last in the ACC with just nine home runs, hope to take advantage of Davidson’s hitter-friendly home ballpark as well.

“I’m anxious to see how our hitters respond,” McNally said. “We expect to score some runs down there.”

Duke also needs to get back to its characteristic good defense, which had committed just 12 errors in 16 games before the miscues in the Miami series. McNally said the Blue Devils have been unable to make any specific preparations for Davidson.

“That’s kind of the nature of the college baseball season: There’s not a lot of practice time,” he said.

The Blue Devils have handled Davidson well during McNally’s tenure as head coach, racking up five wins out of six matchups. Duke carries a nine-game nonconference winning streak into the contest, which will be the Blue Devils’ first road game since Feb. 21, when they lost three of four games at an opening-weekend tournament in Waco, Texas.

Duke will need to get used to a road atmosphere, with the next two weekend series to be played on the road, first against one of the conference’s worst teams in Boston College, then against Georgia Tech, one of its best.

McNally likes to build his team on a foundation of quality pitching, timely hitting and excellent defense, and he knows that his team needs to get back to basics Tuesday before resuming ACC play Friday.

“We know if we’re not good in those three phases generally, we’re not going to win, and this is our opportunity to work on that before we get back into the ACC next weekend,” he said.

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