Spring sport spotlight: Duke baseball's Charlie Beilenson picks up right where he left off last season

Duke baseball opened its season Feb. 16 against Indiana.
Duke baseball opened its season Feb. 16 against Indiana.

Every week, the Blue Zone breaks down an outstanding spring athlete, looking at their weekly performance and their season as a whole. Up next is Charlie Beilenson: 

Duke fans, get ready to hear “Sail” by AWOLNATION a lot this year at Jack Coombs Field this season. That would be graduate pitcher Charlie Beilenson’s theme music, and the closer has been a major key to 13th-ranked Blue Devils’ 7-0 start in the 2024 campaign. 

Last season, the former Brown Bear came to Durham to spend his last two years of eligibility, and he instantly emerged as a top option for head coach Chris Pollard out of the bullpen. The Los Angeles native threw an astounding 60.2 innings, breaking the school record for appearances with 39. In those outings, Beilenson posted a 3.86 ERA and struck out 78 batters, including five in his appearance against Rider in last year’s NCAA regionals. 

With Duke’s interesting pitching situation last year — both of the Blue Devils’ best starters in Jonathan Santucci and Luke Fox were lost for the season due to injury — it made some sense that Pollard had to continue going to his most trusted arms due to lack of depth. With Santucci returning fully healthy and Duke also employing Fran Oschell III and James Tallon as All-American-caliber relievers, it would have been understandable if Beilenson took a slightly lesser role this season.

In fact, the opposite has occurred, as Beilenson’s rubber arm seems to have carried over into this season. The right-hander has thrown in four of the Blue Devils’ seven contests so far this season, collecting saves in every contest he has entered. 

When Duke traveled down to Conway, S.C., Pollard turned to his closer to slam the door against two now-ranked opponents in Indiana and Coastal Carolina. Against the Hoosiers in the season opener, Beilenson was masterful, pitching the last 2.2 innings of a tightly contested game and racking up five strikeouts while only giving up one hit en route to a statement win to open the campaign for the Blue Devils. In the weekend finale against the host Chanticleers, he went 2.1 innings and utilized his high-octane fastball and his wipeout slider on his way to allowing zero baserunners and giving Duke a major resume-building win in a rematch of last year’s regional championship.

This work continued into the second week of the season, as the Ivy League product finished the deal against Liberty Tuesday and Friday against Northwestern, going through more scoreless outings with relative ease, putting his season stats at seven innings pitched with only two hits allowed. 

As it stands, the current program records for appearances and saves are Beilenson’s 39 last year and Tallon’s 12 in 2023. If this current trend continues and Pollard keeps deciding to trot the Californian out in every close game, Beilenson will sail his way to the top of the program record books this spring. 


Share and discuss “Spring sport spotlight: Duke baseball's Charlie Beilenson picks up right where he left off last season” on social media.