A Quick Look at Texas Tech’s Super Regional Foe
The Duke Blue Devils will be in Lubbock this weekend after a fortuitous chain of events put Texas Tech in the driver's seat to move on to Omaha.
Texas Tech playing at home is a huge advantage, but Duke isn't exactly a gimme. They weren't a regional host, but they beat a National seed twice in one day to get the chance to come to Lubbock, and did so from behind all weekend.
The Duke Blue Devils (44-16) finished the season with a 20th ranked RPI with a 79th ranked strength of schedule and finished ranked 18th according to D1Baseball.com. Compare those numbers to Texas Tech (42-17), who finished with a 10th ranked RPI, a 16th rated schedule and a 15 overall ranking from D1baseball.com.
Texas Tech and Duke have a single common opponent: Louisville.
Even though the Dukies and Louisville share a conference, they did not play in the regular season. But the Cardinals did eliminate the Blue Devils in the ACC tournament. Texas Tech ended their time with the Cardinals with a 3-1 record after beating them twice in the Lubbock Regional last weekend.
Louisville beat Duke 9-2 in the ACC Tourney, touching the Blue Devils' starter up for eight runs in less than four innings. Mitch Stallings pitched better in the Athens Regional, but has had a plethora of recent struggles. None of Duke's starting pitching is outstanding, with four of their top starters with an ERA over 4.7.
Defensively, they have a very solid team who don't make a lot of mistakes, ranking in the top 10 in both turning double plays and fielding percentage. Their offense, led by Griffin Conine, was very average during the regular season. In the opening game of the Athens Regional, the Blue Devils got shut out. Then, they hit 15 doubles and eight home runs, exploding for 47 runs in the next four games to dispose of Campbell, Troy and Georgia.
It's fair to call Duke's offense hot.
The most surprising contributor this weekend was freshman DH Chris Crabtree, who had 15 at-bats all season and then went off after pinch hitting in the 2nd game of the Athens Regional. He finished the regional with 10 hits and 10 RBIs.
If Crabtree can be that guy again, instead of the regular season guy who was 4-15 with four singles, the Duke Blue Devils will have a real chance to be dangerous.
The lineup overall was fairly average, with eight starters hitting between .260 and .308.
You can catch a full preview of Duke and Texas Tech and the rest of the Super Regionals on 1340 the Fan this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. during our Countdown to First Pitch show.