Following a sensational performance from sophomore Graeme Stinson on the mound, the Blue Devils thrived yet again with their backs against the wall in a crucial elimination game in the super regional. 

Duke defeated No. 9 Texas Tech by a score of 11-2 Sunday evening to mark its fifth consecutive elimination game victory and set the slate for a winner-take-all game Monday afternoon at Rip Griffin Park in Lubbock, Texas. The Blue Devils scored in bunches, using a four-run fourth and a six-run fifth to take control of the contest, while an explosive Texas Tech offense was held dormant.

Zack Kone and Griffin Conine recorded back to back singles to start the bottom of the fourth before freshman first baseman Joey Loperfido cleared the bases with a triple to the gap to get the scoring started. The Blue Devils weren’t content with two, as senior captain Max Miller and freshman Chris Crabtree laced consecutive doubles to extend the lead to four and chase Red Raider starter Caleb Kilian from the game.

"A lot of our hits came off the fastball," Blue Devils head coach Chris Pollard said in the press conference. "We were hunting that pitch and we got on time with it... It’s sneaky fast and got on us a little bit the first time through the lineup and I thought we just did a good job of adjusting and then from that point, over the second half of the ballgame, we were really locked in.”

The bats of the Blue Devils remained sizzling in the fifth, as they broke the game open with six runs off of five consecutive hits and a walk—including a bases clearing triple from captain Max Miller. Conine recorded his third hit of the day, and Chris Proctor notched his second after the two innings which featured five extra base hits.

With the season in the balance following a devastating 6-4 loss on Saturday, Pollard wasted no time in getting Duke’s strongest arm in the game, electing to start usual-reliever Stinson for the first time since April 9. 

“I’ve always seen myself as a starter," Stinson said. "I just kind of adapted to the reliever role this year." 

The sophomore—who struck out eight in 4.2 innings of stellar work Monday against Georgia—was a bulldog yet again for the Blue Devils (45-17) Sunday night. Despite allowing seven base runners and pitching with runners in scoring position multiple times, Stinson pitched flawlessly with runners on before handing the ball to junior righty Hunter Davis with a healthy 10-0 lead in the seventh. 

“The really great thing about the effort by Graeme [Stinson], and then Hunter [Davis] and [Matt] Dockman coming in and doing their job is it really preserved our bullpen," Pollard said. "We didn’t have to go to Jack [Labosky] today, we didn’t have to go to Ethan [DeCaster] today, and so we’ve got a rested bullpen that will be ready to go tomorrow.”

Red Raiders head coach Tim Tadlock sent sophomore ace Kilian to the mound in a game that could have left Texas Tech (43-18) heading to the College World Series with a victory. Kilian—who led the Big 12 with a 2.39 ERA—eluded trouble early in the game by inducing a huge double play off the bat of Chris Crabtree with the bases loaded in the second, but was unable to work out of trouble in the fourth.

Back to back extra base hits from Michael Davis and Cody Farhat gave Texas Tech their first run of the game in the seventh, before tallying on one more in the eighth on a single by Greg Little. Duke would get one of those back on a single by Loperfido in bottom half of the inning—leaving him just one hit shy of the cycle in his team's first super regional victory in program history.

The victory was not entirely positive for the Blue Devils, however, as Duke lost center fielder Kennie Taylor in the seventh with an apparent hamstring injury chasing a triple from Davis. Taylor was one of six Blue Devil hitters to collect two base hits, along with Proctor, Kone, Loperfido, Miller and Conine, before exiting the game.  

“He’s in some pain," Pollard said about Taylor's injury. "Obviously you could see as he came off the field there, he was having a hard time putting weight on that leg and so he’ll get treatment tonight, but to comment right now on how he feels or what his timeline is would be premature.” 

Duke will play in its sixth elimination game of the tournament tomorrow at 4 p.m, looking for a first College World Series appearance since 1961, which would take place in the college baseball mecca of Omaha, Neb. June 16-27.