The outcome of Thursday morning's game that stretched late into the afternoon had no effect on Duke's chances of winning its pool, but the Blue Devils still took it seriously with the rest of the postseason in mind, and their best bullpen arms delivered.

Fourth-seeded Duke bolstered its chances of hosting an NCAA tournament regional next weekend with a 6-2 victory in 13 innings against No. 9 seed Wake Forest, its school-record 40th win of the season. The Blue Devils' bullpen combined to throw eight shutout innings, striking out 14 batters and allowing just three hits, and the Demon Deacons imploded during Duke's four-run 13th inning with two hit batters and two walks. 

Since the tiebreaker states that if all three teams in a pool finish 1-1 the highest seed advances, Duke only needs to beat No. 5 seed Louisville—which defeated Wake Forest Wednesday—in their matchup Friday morning to advance to Saturday's semifinals, regardless of how it fared against the Demon Deacons. But Blue Devil head coach Chris Pollard still used regular starter and bullpen aces Jack Labosky, Ethan DeCaster and Bryce Jarvis as Duke's RPI ranking hovers on the border of the top-16 cutoff that determines which teams will host the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.

"I don't know that in the absence of an opportunity to host that we would have pitched any of those guys. As much as we want to be playing on Saturday, our ultimate goal is to get to Omaha [for the College World Series], and the best opportunity for us to do that is by playing baseball in Durham next week," Pollard said. "We were careful to make sure that Ethan and Jack didn't do anything to prevent them from throwing tomorrow, so both those guys will be live for us tomorrow and ready to extend."

The Blue Devils (40-14) had plenty of chances to close out the win before the 13th inning. Joey Loperfido was thrown out at the plate to end the top of the ninth on an impressive assist from Demon Deacon left fielder Christian Long to catcher Logan Harvey, who barely put the tag on Loperfido's chest in time.

In the 10th inning, Duke loaded the bases with nobody out and the heart of the order coming to the plate, but Chris Proctor struck out, Zack Kone popped up to second base and Griffin Conine looked at the third strike to strand all three runners. The Blue Devils put two runners on base once again in the top of the 12th, but Kone bunted the ball back to the pitcher with two outs to end the threat.

Meanwhile, Jarvis was dominant out of the bullpen, retiring all nine batters he faced in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings with six strikeouts.

"Our bullpen made it real easy on us, I think. That game could have ended up being close to five [hours] if we got a game that's dragging or our bullpen is not doing a good job of being in the zone. But they kind of made it seem a lot quicker than it was," Conine said. "We were back in the dugout so quick that we got to cool off, and I think that eventually helped our offense and helped us kind of stay in the moment and get the win."

Finally, Duke had no choice but to score in the 13th inning. With a runner on first base and nobody out, Antonio Menendez got ahead of both Kennie Taylor and Steve Mann 0-2 in the count before hitting them in the side. Then, he walked Labosky on five pitches to force in the go-ahead run. Tyler Witt relieved Menendez on the mound for Wake Forest and walked Jimmy Herron on five pitches to plate another run, and Proctor put the nail in the coffin with a two-run single.

The script was flipped in the first half of the game, with the Demon Deacons (25-32) getting most of the early opportunities. They put the leadoff hitter on base in the first three innings and finally broke through with a two-run double off the Blue Monster by Bobby Seymour in the third.

But Day largely minimized the damage on the mound for the Blue Devils despite walking three batters and giving up five hits in five innings.

"I think if you asked [Day] and he were sitting here, he would say that was maybe his worst stuff of the year. But what an unbelievable job by a senior captain of staying in the moment, staying in the fight, executing pitches one pitch at a time," Pollard said. "We looked up at the end of five, we're right there in that ballgame, and that's a job well done by a senior captain."

Wake Forest starter Griffin Roberts took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, but Duke cut the deficit in half with a walk, an infield hit and an RBI single that Labosky pulled into left field. An inning later, Proctor singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored the tying run on a line-drive single by Conine—the last time either team would score for more than two hours.

Now, Duke will turn its attention to the Cardinals Friday morning at 11 with a trip to the semifinals on the line. Senior Mitch Stallings will get the start for the Blue Devils against Adam Wolf, trying to slow down a team that has won seven straight ACC games, including its 10-2 shellacking of the Demon Deacons this week.

"You could make a compelling case that Louisville has played as well over the last four weeks as anybody in the country, not just in the ACC. So we've got our hands full," Pollard sad. "But the one thing you know about Mitch Stallings is he's going to compete like crazy. He lives for ballgames like this. The bigger the stage, the more he enjoys being out there on the mound, and I have no doubt that he's going to come out and really compete."