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Charlottesville Super Regional: Duke Pitching Staff

Duke has no true ace, but kept UVA at bay in their series last month.

Aaron Fitt -

Which Duke Blue Devil pitching staff shows up this weekend in Charlottesville to face the Virginia Cavaliers could be the deciding factor in who will be playing in Omaha next week.

Over the last two ACC series and the ACC Tournament, the Blue Devils allowed 68 runs over 9 games, including less than 5 runs in only one game. Last weekend in Conway they only allowed 15 runs over their four games and held Coastal Carolina to just three meaningless runs in the 9th inning of the deciding game on Monday.

Alex Gow is seen as Duke’s “ace” if they have one. The grad student transfer from Kenyon College has started 16 games for Duke this season including two starts last weekend in the regionals, but has averaged less than 4 innings per start. He has a 3-3 record over those 16 starts, but has a 4.62 ERA on the season despite opponents batting just .215. He started the Friday game against Virginia in late April holding UVA just 3 hits and 1 run in 4 innings while only striking out 1.

Gow will almost certainly start one game for Duke, but on Friday the Cavaliers will face Freshman Andrew Healy. Similar to Gow, Healy is on a short leash having pitched more than 4 innings just three times in his 10 starts. He does have 8 other appearances on the year, but is averaging just over 2 innings on the season. The inverse of Gow, opponents are batting .248 off Healy, but he has a 2.27 ERA. He started the Sunday game against UVA shutting out and holding the Cavaliers hitless over three innings, but not striking out any.

As a team in conference play, the Blue Devils were average with a 5.20 ERA, good for 7th best in the ACC. Opponents batting .256 against the staff, but they limited opponents to just 33 home runs, good for third best in the conference, and averaged striking out more than 10 batters per game, the second best in the ACC.

That strikeout mark was thanks in large part to the trio of Charlie Beilenson, Fran Oschell III, and James Tallon. Beilenson’s arm could fall off at any moment having appeared in 37 games this season and the 2nd most innings on Duke’s roster. He appeared in all four of Duke’s games in regional play allowing just 1 earned run on 3 hits in 7.1 innings. James Tallon, a name some might be familiar with as he hails from Arlington and Yorktown High, is Duke’s closer, if they have one, as he has 11 saves on the season. He didn’t pitch at all last weekend and struggled towards the end of the season, but if the Blue Devils can rely on him, he’ll appear at some point. The final pen arm to know from Duke is Sophomore Fran Oschell III. A 0.74 ERA and a .134 average against, Oschell is likely the best arm Duke will roll out in the later innings. Oschell III is also intriguing as his younger brother, Charlie, is a UVA commitment from the class of ‘23 and will likely take the mound for the Hoos next season.

Duke’s starters aren’t going to last long, so be prepared to see countless new pitchers. It’ll be up to the UVA offense to adjust quickly and take advantage of mistakes any might make. Duke’s offense is potent so runs for the Hoos will be important.