Thanks to Duke’s 6-3 win over Clemson on Tuesday, this matchup between the Hoos and Blue Devils will be to determine who moves on to Saturday’s semifinal out of Pool D. The Blue Devils are 29-27 on the year and their 12-18 ACC mark was good for the ninth seed in the conference tournament. They’ll need to win the ACC Tournament to have a chance at making and NCAA Regional.
Virginia took two of three against Duke in their regular season series with Duke winning the first game 19-3 and Virginia winning the next two, both by a score of 13-6. Derek Casey will be on the mound for the Hoos, while Duke will likely counter with Ryan Day. Neither pitched in the series earlier in the year, so neither team will have anything they can glean from experience. Day is 3-3 on the year with a 3.22 ERA. He doesn’t strike out many batters, but doesn’t walk many either.
At the plate, Duke is led by Second Team All-ACC selection Griffin Conine. Conine leads the team with 13 home runs and 56 RBI. Setting the table for the Blue Devils is Jimmy Herron who leads the team with 0.333 average and scored 52 runs out of the lead off spot. Behind him is Zack Kone who is batting 0.301. The two combined at the top of the lineup to steal 29 bases on the season, so they will keep the defense honest. Duke, outside of Conine, isn’t going to hit for a lot of power, but they will put pressure on the defense and can put up runs.
Virginia and Duke square off around 3:00 p.m. ET on Thursday. The game can be seen on RSN affiliates and ACC Network Extra.