It was a wild weekend for Duke Baseball and they were going to need some more magic if they wanted to move onto the Super Regionals.
Throughout the Regional the Blue Devils became the self-proclaimed “comeback kids”.
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However, it was the Blue Devils who struck first in Game One against Georgia on Monday. A Zach Kone double was followed by a Joey Loperfido single off Georgia pitcher Emerson Hancock (0-1) got Duke on the board.
The Blue Devils wouldn’t lead for long as Georgia bounced back for four runs in the top of the second inning.
Duke starter Bill Chillari didn’t make it out of the second inning, adding to the poor starting pitching for Duke in the Regional.
Graeme Stinson was sensational in relief of Chillari, tossing 4.2 IP of one-run ball, scattering six hits, and striking out eight.
The hot bats of the Blue Devils would come alive in the second as Duke responded with two runs of their own, cutting the Georgia lead to one.
Georgia plated another run in the top of the fifth, but that would be all the scoring in this game for the Bulldogs.
Jimmy Herron then tied the game for the Blue Devils in the sixth and Duke just took off from there. Griffin Conine launched an absolute moon shot into the right-field trees to give Duke a 6-5 lead they would not relinquish.
Later in the inning, Kennie Taylor put a wall scraper over the right-field wall and Duke now held a three-run lead.
Once again, the Blue Devils got behind early as Georgia was able to plate two runs in the bottom of the second inning in Game 2.
Zack Kone then stepped to the plate and smashed a three-run homer to left field and Duke led 4-2, but Griffin Conine was the next hitter and he took one to right field which capped off a 5-run third inning for Duke.
Georgia was able to cut into the Duke lead in the bottom of the fourth inning and Duke now led 5-3.
Both teams traded zeroes in the fifth and sixth innings but it was the Blue Devils who would score the next run as Griffin Conine ripped his second home run of the game and his third of the day.
The Duke four-run lead would not last long as Georgia responded with a run in the bottom half of the seventh.
Stallings’ day was over after the seventh and he was brilliant, he threw seven innings giving up seven hits, four runs, three earned, and six strikeouts.
Jimmy Herron gave the Blue Devils some insurance runs in the top of the ninth blasting a solo home run to left and a Kennie Taylor RBI single gave Duke an 8-5 lead.
Labosky replaced Stallings and he picked up right where he left off in Game 1. Labosky pitched another two no-hit innings, picking up his tenth save of the season.
For the first time in program history, the Duke Blue Devils are headed to Super Regionals and they will be playing a best of three series against Texas Tech this weekend for the right to go to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
Duke will have some well-needed rest before their next game on Saturday against the Red Raiders who rolled through their regional bracket.