After Duke’s impressive 7-2 win against No.14 East Carolina, the Blue Devils are set to take on Louisville in a three-game series next.
Duke baseball will host No.13 Louisville at Durham Bulls Athletic Park this weekend, with the action beginning on Friday at 4:00 p.m. The 24th-ranked Blue Devils have had faced some stiff competition lately, and their upcoming matchup against the Cardinals will be no different.
“When I looked at our schedule at the beginning of the year, I thought this was probably the toughest week of the season for us,” Duke head coach Chris Pollard said. “Having to go to UVA on the road, which is always one of the toughest places in our league to play, then East Carolina midweek, a top-15 team in the country, and then Louisville on the weekend [is difficult].”
With a No. 11 preseason rank and 11 impressive freshmen additions to the team, the Cardinals certainly are intimidating on paper.
“Everything points to the fact that they’re the most complete club that we’ve played and some people are saying maybe the most complete club in the country,” Pollard said. “They’re very dynamic with their lineup because they can really put a lot of pressure on you on the bases.”
The Blue Devils will have to watch out for some strong pitching. One notable player for the Cardinals (13-4, 2-1) is Reid Detmers. The sophomore lefthander has had a big start to the season thus far, earning the title of ACC Pitcher of the Week two weeks in a row. This title was gained after games against Brown and James Madison where Detmers threw seven no-hit innings in both. Of the 20 innings that Detmers has pitched this season, he’s been responsible for 28 strikeouts and just one run.
“Reid Detmers is obviously throwing as well as anybody in the country. His numbers look like a video game,” said coach Pollard. “They’re very deep on the mound.”
Although Duke (12-5, 2-1 ACC) is up against another tough team, the Blue Devils have been playing very well since the start of their season as well. Duke won its first six games before losing their undefeated status to Northwestern. The team had their strongest season start since 2008, an even better start than their record-breaking season last year, and have dropped just one series, against Penn.
The freshmen continue to prove themselves for the Blue Devils, and will be vital assets to a victory this weekend. Cooper Stinson and Kyle Salley have warmed up to the mound, and together covered the first six innings against East Carolina. Rudy Maxwell has shown on a number of occasions that he can hit, with his name coming up every weekend, and Ethan Murray had a first-inning hit against the Pirates that led Duke to a 3-0 start.
If Duke continues to compete at its current level, it should have a good chance of earning another series win under their belt after this weekend.
“ECU and Louisville are both teams that have gotten a lot of conversation about being potential Omaha teams, so I think we’re in the midst of our toughest week of the season, and so far, we’ve handled it pretty well,” Pollard said.
After last season’s impressive final results, every win pushes the Blue Devils closer to Omaha. A win this weekend will close up a tough week of baseball and may pave the path for future success.
Get Overtime, all Duke athletics
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
Duke will remain in Durham next week for a midweek game against Campbell on Wednesday.