If you were walking on Foster Street Tuesday afternoon at 4:56 p.m., you may have been alarmed by a potential meteorite landing at your feet. Fret not—it was merely the second home run of the season for Griffin Conine. 

The moonshot that came off the bat of the Blue Devil right fielder put Duke ahead by a score of 3-1 and gave the squad a lead it would not relinquish in its 5-3 victory against N.C. Central at the Durham Athletic Park.

With Tuesday’s triumph, the Blue Devils (6-2) extended their winning streak to five games. Duke seems to be firing on all cylinders and has outscored its opponents 39-14 in its last five contests.

Despite the Blue Devils’ victory, it was not all good news for head coach Chris Pollard. Matt Dockman’s first career start for the Blue Devils did not go according to plan—his afternoon started by yielding a walk, consecutive singles, another walk and a deep sacrifice fly. The freshman southpaw was unable to retire the first four Eagles he faced, though Duke catcher Chris Proctor was able to nab the Eagles' leadoff hitter Carter Williams in his steal attempt. 

Dockman struggled with his control, but was able to escape the opening frame relatively unscathed, ceding only one run. However, Pollard had seen enough and pulled his starter in favor of Matt Mervis in the second inning. 

“This was a planned split start between Dockman and Mervis,” Pollard said. “We just thought after the first inning that [N.C. Central] was on top of Matt [Dockman] and decided to be proactive.”

Mervis was marvelous in relief and faced the minimum of nine batters in his three scoreless innings of work. 

In the bottom of the fifth, after Conine's third-inning home run and another score for the Blue Devils in the top of the fifth, Williams brought the score within one run at 4-3 when he scorched a ball directly over the 290-foot right-field fence. But the Eagles (3-3) could not push another run across, and Duke tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning.

Tuesday’s contest seemed to come down to plate discipline. The Blue Devils drew eight walks and gave up just four free passes. This brought the season total for the team to 46 walks drawn in comparison to just 27 yielded. 

“We certainly value plate discipline in our hitters, and I think this is the product of a veteran lineup,” Pollard said. “It’s a really good sign for when our bats actually pick up.”

In addition to his mammoth two-run home run, Conine earned two bases on balls. Designated hitter Michael Rothenberg added two doubles, a walk, a run and an RBI. On the mound, Mervis, Bill Chillari, and Ethan DeCaster combined for seven shutout innings in relief.

This weekend, the Blue Devils will look to extend their winning streak as they host Cornell, which was swept by No. 10 Texas A&M in its sole series so far this spring.