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Charlottesville Super Regional Preview: Duke’s Lineup

Duke thrives hitting the long ball, but what else is their lineup capable of?

Aaron Fitt,

This weekend, the Virginia Cavaliers are looking for the their second trip to Omaha in the last three years and sixth College World Series berth since 2009. Standing in their way are the Duke Blue Devils featuring a lineup that ranked 10th in the ACC in batting average, but don’t let that fool you. This is a potent lineup that rated 4th in the conference in runs scored and 3rd in home runs. They’re coming off an NCAA Regional where there put up an average of eight runs per game and scored over eight runs per game in the series victory over the Hoos back in April.

It all starts at the top of the lineup with First Team All-ACC shortstop Alex Mooney. Mooney was third on the team with a .321 batting average while leading the team in runs, doubles, and stolen bases (he was top 9 in the ACC in all three of those categories). He struggled in both the series with Virginia in April and last weekend in Conway batting .250 and .188 respectively, but when he get’s things going, watch out.

Despite Mooney’s struggles however, Duke still managed to put up runs thanks their dangerous bats. That danger starts with catcher Alex Stone and first baseman MJ Metz. The two tied for the team lead in home runs with 17 apiece while Stone led the team with 62 RBI. Stone tore up Cavalier pitching back in April batting .538 for the series with three home runs and five RBI while Metz carried Duke in the NCAA Regional batting .444 with four home runs (including 3 in the opener over UNC Wilmington) and eight RBI.

Hot on their heels with 14 long balls is Jay Beshears who led Duke in batting average at .332. Like Mooney, Beshears shined in Charlottesville batting .417 with a home run, five RBI, and another five runs scored. Checking in with 13 home runs on the season is Luke Storm. Storm only batted .249, but was tied for third in RBI behind only Stone and Beshears.

Joining Beshears, Stone, and Mooney batting over .300 is left fielder Tyler Albright who hit .314 for the year. Last weekend in Conway, Albright hit .417 and reached base in half of his plate appearances. Also coming into the Charlottesville Super Regional hot is Duke’s Damon Lux. The right fielder batted .385 last weekend with five hits and eight RBI highlighted by a grand slam in Sunday’s loss to Coastal Carolina.

Rounding out Duke’s lineup regulars is Giovanni DiGiacomo. The Blue Devil’s centerfielder only hit .269, but was a terror on the base paths coming in second on the team in stolen bases with 19.

This is the lineup that awaits Nick Parker, Connelly Early, and Brian Edgington this weekend in Charlottesville. First pitch both Friday and Saturday is at 12 p.m. with each game televised by ESPN2. Sunday’s game three, if necessary, is TBD.