Revenge is a dish best served Texas-style.

A surprisingly pro-Red Raider crowd chanted “Raider Power” in the early innings, but Duke’s offensive display soon turned the Texas boast into Texas toast. The Blue Devils broke out the big bats to topple No. 16 Texas Tech 13-6 Tuesday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The midweek win is especially sweet for Duke, as Texas Tech eliminated the Blue Devils in last year’s NCAA super regional final.

“We’re showing people what we’re capable of,” senior center fielder Kennie Taylor said. “From the first to the last person in the lineup, everyone is having great at-bats. Even when they’re getting outs, they’re productive outs.”

The dirt in front of home plate had a rough night, as Red Raider pitch after pitch pummeled it like a punching bag through the evening. Duke (21-16) scored three runs on wild pitches in a sloppy display from Texas Tech, while the Red Raiders scored two runs of their own off passed balls from the Blue Devils.

Baserunning proved vital for Duke in the early going. In the first inning, a passed ball from Red Raider pitcher Bryce Bonnin advanced second baseman Joey Loperfido and Taylor to second and third. A dropped third strike let Loperfido score and gave right fielder Chase Cheek a free pass to first. The subsequent double steal worked beautifully, as Taylor crossed home while catcher Braxton Fulford threw down to second.

“We did a great job in the run game,” head coach Chris Pollard said. “We wanted to apply pressure to them, whether it was with the stolen base or going first to third—dirt ball reads are a part of that.”

The Red Raiders (23-12) responded in the next inning, scoring one on a double play, but a two-out sequence from Duke in the next frame would double its score. After a walk, a hit-by-pitch and an infield single, Taylor roped a bases-clearing double off the wall in right-center to increase the Blue Devils’ lead to 6-1 by the end of the fourth inning.

Texas Tech responded again, scoring two more on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly in the fifth. 

And yet, Duke had more in the tank. A double down the right-field line by designated hitter Matt Mervis and a base hit by left fielder Kyle Gallagher put men on first and third. Mervis scored on another wild pitch, and Cheek walked. Shortstop Ethan Murray laid down a sacrifice bunt, which led righthander Caleb Freeman to intentionally walk Maxwell, the freshman slugger, to load the bases. The strategy proved fruitless, though, as Freeman then surrendered a two-run single to Crabtree, extending the Blue Devils’ lead to six.

Duke just kept piling on. The Blue Devils would hit double digits for the fifth time this season on RBI singles from Cheek and Ethan Murray. Chris Crabtree’s two-run double high off the left field wall dumped an entire salt shaker in the wound and made it an insurmountable 13-4 lead. Crabtree totaled a game-high 4 RBI on the day.

“These past couple weeks, we’ve really shown a lot [of growth],” Taylor said. “We went through some tough stretches in the beginning. Coach Pollard has always said, ‘All gas, no brakes’, and I think we’re really playing with that edge and that mentality.”

Adam Laskey pitched three innings and gave up one earned run, marking his longest and best start of the season. Aaron Beasley pitched himself into a jam in the ninth, allowing two runs, but shut down shop shortly thereafter.

“We’ve played ourselves back into a position where we control our fate down the stretch,” Pollard said. “That wasn’t necessarily the case a couple weeks ago when we kind of dug ourselves into a hole.”

Having met its retribution quota for the season, Duke will hit the road for a three-game series at No. 23 Clemson starting Friday. The Blue Devils will look for a third consecutive series win.