Duke’s historic season continued in grand fashion this weekend, with a two-game sweep against No. 9 Florida State.

Fresh off of their first ACC series loss of 2018 last weekend at Wake Forest, the 10th-ranked Blue Devils secured a pair of road victories against the Seminoles by scores of 7-1 and 6-5 on Friday and Saturday at Dick Howser Stadium before the Tallahassee, Fla., weather defeated both teams Sunday. 

Duke became just the second team in the country to advance to 30 wins and currently sits in first place in the ACC’s Coastal Division.

“We really don’t stop to think about our success. We have a mantra in our program where we focus on being where our feet are and winning the day,” Pollard said. “We focus on the day, moment and task at hand, and don’t really spend any time dwelling in the past or the future.”

Duke overpowered Florida State (24-12, 8-9 in the ACC) in the first contest of the weekend. Junior Jimmy Herron reached base safely to start the game and scored on a Chris Proctor triple, providing the Blue Devils with a lead that they never relinquished. 

Herron has exemplified the role of a leadoff hitter—his 38 runs and 15 stolen bases are the first and fifth highest marks in the conference, respectively. Additionally, his 26 walks, 11 doubles, and 42 hits lead the team, while he walks more than he strikes out.

Saturday’s contest needed 11 innings to determine a winner and was characterized by the long ball, with five home runs launched over the fence during the game. Homers from Max Miller and Herron allowed Duke (30-7, 12-5) to secure a lead, but the Blue Devils’ erratic control on the mound—starter Mitch Stallings and the bullpen combined to yield nine walks—left Pollard’s squad trailing heading into the top of the ninth inning. 

Then came Kennie Taylor, who hit a ninth-inning triple and scored the game-tying run on a single by Michael Smiciklas and then won the game with a home run in the top of the 11th.

Miller’s fourth-inning home run, a three-run shot, was out of character for him, as it was just his second career home run in more than 700 plate appearances. The two-year captain is better known for his glove and his leadership rather than for his power.

“He is unquestionably the leader of this team. He’s a captain now for the second year. He is one of the all-time great leaders that I have ever coached. He’s the heart and soul of this team,” Pollard said. “He doesn’t put up perhaps the most prolific offensive power numbers, but he has consistently given us some of the most competitive and important at bats of the season.”

Perhaps the sole downside to Duke’s bright 2018 campaign has been the relative struggles of star outfielder Griffin Conine, who was tabbed as a preseason All-American and potential first round pick in the MLB Draft. Conine went 0-for-7 against Florida State, with two walks and three strikeouts. This lowered his batting average on the season to .209, an 89-point drop from his 2017 mark. 

Although his power numbers are still there, as he leads the team in home runs and is third in slugging percentage, he is having trouble putting the ball in play consistently. His strikeout percentage soared from 16.8 percent last season to 27.8 percent in 2018. 

Duke is approaching its biggest week of the year, as it hosts No. 8 East Carolina Tuesday and No. 2 N.C. State this weekend. All four games will be played at Jack Coombs Field, located on campus in Durham.