Duke baseball NCAA Regional preview

Duke celebrates after scoring a run
Duke celebrates after scoring a run

Coming off a historic second ACC Tournament title, Duke baseball hopes to continue its blazing run of form in the NCAA Regionals. The Blue Zone is here to preview the Blue Devils’ opponents this weekend:

After a tumultuous season riddled with injuries to some of its top talent, Duke baseball might just be heating up at the right time. Despite dropping three straight weekend series to end the year, the Blue Devils smashed their way through the ACC tournament, clobbering Florida State 16-4 in the championship game. 

Duke barely missed out on being named a regional host, so the team will head to Norman, Okla., this weekend where it will be the second seed. 

Head coach Chris Pollard’s squad boasts an impressive lineup, as the Blue Devils just broke the single-season home run record during the ACC tournament and boast six hitters with double digit bombs on the season. Duke’s 1-2 punch of Zac Morris and Ben Miller earned All-ACC first team selections in the infield, while elite arms Charlie Beilenson and Jonathan Santucci received the same honor. 

The Blue Devils will take on UConn Friday afternoon, and then will face the winner of Oklahoma and Oral Roberts if they defeat the Huskies. 


The Sooners enter as the No. 9 overall seed in the tournament and will be playing at their home stadium this weekend. With a 37-19 mark during the regular season, Oklahoma emerged as Big 12 regular season champs before falling to Oklahoma State in their conference tournament. The Sooners boast one of the more well-rounded lineups in the field, as their .313 team batting average ranks 13th in the nation. However, their pitching staff is not as strong, with their team ERA a middling 5.22. While it is always tough to beat top teams at their home fields, Oklahoma is not invincible.


This Huskies team is no slouch, having dominated the Big East during the regular season and sporting a 17-4 conference record. However, the 3-seed in the region does not have an outstanding order, with its team batting average of .273 being one of the worst in the tournament field. The group does excel in other areas, though, as UConn is one of the least mistake-prone teams in the country, sporting a 97.8% fielding percentage that is among the best in the nation. If Duke can string together some hits and its solid pitching staff handles business, the Huskies should be a beatable foe. 

Oral Roberts

One year removed from the College World Series, Oral Roberts returns to the field as the Summit League champions and the 4-seed in this regional. The Golden Eagles are bluntly one of the lesser teams left, as an impressive conference tournament run allowed for the 27-30-1 squad to sneak into Norman. Its lineup is the weaker portion of the squad, as Oral Roberts ranks among the bottom five in the tournament in several offensive categories, notably last in slugging percentage. However, this team is battle tested, and the magic from last year may persist.

This regional is shaping up to be a fun one, with it likely being a two-horse race between the hosts and Duke. If the Blue Devils get back to full health with the returns of Santucci and versatile freshman Kyle Johnson, and its dynamic offense continues its run of form, a matchup with the winner of the Tallahassee Regional may be in the cards. 


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