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Virginia Baseball Super Regional Preview: The Duke Blue Devils

UVA will face a familiar foe this weekend when Duke comes to town and a trip to Omaha on the line.

Aaron Fitt -

For just the second time in program history, the Virginia Cavaliers will play an ACC team in the NCAA Tournament when the Duke Blue Devils come to town for this weekend’s Charlottesville Super Regional. This will be UVA’s eighth Super Regional appearance and sixth in Charlottesville and while they’ve also been to Omaha playing 23 games at the College World Series, only Maryland’s Super Regional series in 2014 was the only time UVA has seen another ACC team.

The visitors this weekend are looking at their third Super Regional appearance since 2018, losing to Texas Tech in 2018 and Vanderbilt the following year. Despite not making the NCAA Tournament for more than 50 years from 1961 to 2016, the Blue Devils are looking to clinch their fourth College World Series appearance having gone in 1952, 1953, and 1961, though the NCAA Tournament was drastically different back then with no preliminary rounds in the 50’s and teams merely chosen to play in Omaha based on the regular season.

This year’s Duke team might be peaking at just the right time. Despite losing their final two ACC series, finishing 2.5 games behind UVA in the ACC Coastal standings, and going 0-2 in the ACC Tournament two weeks ago, the Blue Devils put up some impressive offensive production in last weekend’s regional at Coastal Carolina.

Duke won in all matters of ways, but scored more than 5 runs in three of their four games including putting up 12 in their opening round game against UNC Wilmington and their championship game against Coastal Carolina on Monday. In between they won a nail biter 2-1 against Rider before dropping the first game to Coastal, 8-6.

That performance should give the Blue Devils confidence coming to Charlottesville, but winning the series against Virginia at the end of April will likely give them more. A lackluster weekend for UVA in their late season swoon saw Duke outscore UVA 26 to 18 with the Blue Devils scoring 17 in the Friday night game and 7 more on Sunday.

But this is a different Cavalier team since that series having gone 13-1 since that Sunday loss to the Blue Devils and no team scoring more than 8 runs in that span. Couple that with UVA outscoring their regional opponents last weekend 25 to 5 and the Hoos should know that performance in April was not what they’re capable of.

The Charlottesville Super Regional will start the play on Friday at noon on ESPN2 followed by the same time and station on Saturday. The Sunday game time is still TBD as it will depend on if that game needs to be played and what other games are on the schedule.