Preview: Virginia Duels Duke in All-ACC Super Regional
By Matt Newton,2023-06-08
Three college baseball programs from the Atlantic Coast Conference were among the 16 teams to advance to the Super Regional round of the 2023 NCAA Baseball Tournament. Two of those teams will clash this weekend in Charlottesville, as Virginia hosts Duke in a best-of-three series at Disharoon Park with a spot in the College World Series up for grabs.
Here's the three-game schedule for the Super Regional between Virginia and Duke:
Game 1: Friday, June 9th at 12pm, ESPN2
Game 2: Saturday, June 10th at 12pm, ESPN2
Game 3 (if necessary): Sunday, June 11th at TBA
On paper, Virginia has a slight advantage over Duke in this series as the Cavaliers outrank the Blue Devils in the key batting and pitching statistical categories. With that said, Duke will have no shortage of confidence coming into the weekend for the simple fact that the Blue Devils have already accomplished the feat of winning two out of three games in Charlottesville this very season, beating UVA in a three-game series in late April.
Here's what happened in that three-game series between Virginia and Duke earlier this season:
Duke came into the weekend ranked No. 20 in the country, while Virginia was ranked No. 13. Friday's game 1 was delayed by more than an hour due to weather and when it finally got underway after 9pm, the Blue Devils jumped all over the Cavaliers early on, scoring five runs on UVA starter Brian Edgington in the first three frames. It was one of Edgington's worst starts of the season, giving up six earned runs in six innings, but most of the damage was done against the Virginia bullpen, which gave up another 11 runs in the last three frames as the game got ugly, with Duke pulling away for a 17-5 blowout win .
Virginia evened the series in game 2, bouncing back with a 10-2 victory thanks to a late scoring push of three runs in each of the sixth and seventh innings. Kyle Teel had four RBI in that game and UVA scored 10 runs on 13 hits, while Nick Parker gave up just two earned runs on four hits in 6.2 innings pitched and struck out a season-high 12 batters. Jake Berry pitched two shutdown innings to close things out.
Duke claimed the series win in game 3 with a 7-3 victory . Just as they did in game 1, the Blue Devils struck early and jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first four innings. UVA started Jack O'Connor on the mound and the freshman gave up five earned runs in 3.2 innings of work. The Cavalier bats couldn't produce while playing from behind and scored just three runs against a solid combined effort from five different Duke pitchers.
With the exception of game 2, the Duke pitching staff was effective in containing the firepower of the UVA batting order, which went 30 for 103 (.291) at the plate over the course of the series. While Duke's starters - Alex Gow, Ryan Higgins, and Andrew Healy - gave the Blue Devils strong starts, it was the collective effort of the Duke pitching staff that was the difference maker. None of Duke's starters went more than four innings and the Blue Devils used five different pitchers in each game.
The Duke bats struck early against the UVA pitching staff, finding success against Brian Edgington and Jack O'Connor, but only produced against the Virginia bullpen in game 1. Nick Parker gave the Cavaliers a great start and will be relied on to do so again this weekend, but Edgington will need to have a better start than he did against the Blue Devils the first time around. Edgington pitched five perfect innings against Army last Friday, so he'll come in with some momentum and with plenty of rest.
As expected, Brian O'Connor confirmed in a press conference on Thursday that Nick Parker will be the game 1 starter for Virginia against Duke on Friday. O'Connor did not indicate who will take the mound on Saturday for UVA, but it will be either Brian Edgington or Connelly Early, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Charlottesville Regional after securing the win in the deciding game against East Carolina on Sunday, allowing just two earned runs in 6.1 innings and striking out 10 batters.
Duke will start freshman lefty Andrew Healy on the mound in game 1 on Friday. Healy pitched three scoreless innings against Virginia in the deciding game 3 back on April 30th, a 7-3 victory for the Blue Devils.
Duke Scouting Report
Duke Season Recap
Duke comes into the weekend with a 38-22 overall record. The Blue Devils went 16-13 in ACC play this season, winning series against Clemson, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Louisville, and Virginia, and losing series to Wake Forest, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Miami. Duke split a two-game set with Virginia Tech (the other game was canceled) and also swept Campbell, an NCAA Tournament team, this season. Duke earned the No. 5 seed in the ACC Baseball Championship, but went 0-2 in pool play, falling to NC State and Miami.
Duke was placed in the Conway Regional hosted by No. 10 Coastal Carolina in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. After opening up the regional with a 12-3 win over UNC-Wilmington, the Blue Devils outlasted Rider 11-10 in the winner's bracket game. Duke fell to Coastal Carolina 8-6 in the first game of the regional final, but then came back to thump Coastal 12-3 in game 7 to clinch the regional and advance to the Super Regional round.
Duke Personnel to Know
- Second baseman Jay Beshears: .332, 14 HR, 54 RBI, 74 H, 56 R
- Catcher Alex Stone: .324, 17 HR, 62 RBI, 78 H, 52 R
- Shortstop Alex Mooney: .321, 8 HR, 38 RBI, 78 H, 68 R
- Left fielder Tyler Albright: .317, 3 HR, 33 RBI, 45 H, 21 R
- Designated hitter MJ Metz: .290, 17 HR, 48 RBI, 54 H, 48 R
- Right-handed starter Alex Gow: 16 starts, 3-3, 4.62 ERA, 68 SO to 28 BB in 60.1 IP
- Left-handed starter Andrew Healy: 10 starts, 5-1, 2.27 ERA, 42 SO to 6 BB in 39.2 IP
- Right-handed starter Ryan Higgins: 9 starts, 3-0, 3.70 ERA, 32 SO to 13 BB in 41.1 IP
- Right-handed reliever Fran Oschell III: 0.74 ERA with just three earned runs in 36.2 innings
- Left-handed reliever James Tallon: 1.69 ERA with only 6 earned runs allowed in 32.0 innings
- Right-handed reliever Charlie Beilenson: 3.16 ERA in 57.0 innings
Duke Numbers to Know
- .279 team batting average (150th in NCAA)
- 7.8 runs per game (38th in NCAA)
- 4.01 team ERA (9th in NCAA)
- .977 fielding percentage (45th in NCAA)
- 107 home runs (19th in NCAA)
- .390 team OBP (93rd in NCAA)
- 2.70 strikeout to walk ratio (17th in NCAA)
Virginia vs. Duke All-Time Series History
- Virginia leads the all-time series with Duke 106-65-1.
- UVA has a 54-11 record vs. Duke in Charlottesville.
- Virginia is 37-19 vs. Duke under Brian O'Connor.
- Virginia and Duke have met nine times in the ACC Tournament, with the Blue Devils winning seven of those nine matchups, but this will be the first meeting between these two programs in the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia NCAA Tournament History
- UVA holds a 65-44 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament.
- Virginia is making its eighth appearance in a Super Regional and is hosting a Super Regional for the first time since 2015.
- UVA has won five of its previous seven Super Regional series.
- Virginia is 11-8 all-time in Super Regional games.
- UVA is seeking its sixth appearance in the College World Series with its most recent coming in 2021.
Game 1 of the Charlottesville Super Regional between Virginia and Duke is scheduled for 12pm on Friday at Disharoon Park and will be broadcast on ESPN2.
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