If the Blue Devils want to make the ACC Tournament for the first time since 2009, they need to take advantage of their opportunity this weekend.
There are three teams—Miami, Virginia Tech and Duke—vying for the last two spots in the eight-team tournament. Of the three, the Blue Devils (24-20, 8-12 in the ACC) have the toughest remaining schedule, facing two teams that will definitely be headed to postseason play in Virginia and N.C. State.
This weekend, though, Duke hosts Maryland Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (all three contests have 1 p.m. starts). The Terrapins are 6-15 in conference play.
After consecutive sweeps at FSU and UNC, the Blue Devils lost their early-season momentum, built by taking series against Miami and Georgia Tech.
"We're obviously disappointed and frustrated, and our confidence is probably shaken a little bit," head coach Chris Pollard said. "That's what this league will do to you. Play two teams like that back-to-back and it will beat you up a little bit. You've got to do a good job regrouping."
Duke did do that, taking a midweek home-and-home series against High Point. The first, a 5-4 victory, came in come-from-behind fashion, with first baseman Chris Marconcini tying the game in the bottom of the eighth with a double and freshmen Kenny Koplove driving in the winning run. A bases-clearing double from third baseman Jordan Betts was the difference Wednesday in a 4-2 win.
For the Blue Devils to translate that success to ACC play, they need to stop spotting teams early runs. UNC scored at least two runs in the first inning in all three games last weekend, and High Point had early leads in both games as well.
Remaining ACC schedules (records through Thursday)
Duke (24-20, 8-12): vs. Maryland (23-20, 6-15) April 26-28, at Virginia (37-6, 16-5) May 10-12, vs. N.C. State (33-10, 14-7) May 16-18
Miami (28-16, 10-11): at Boston College (6-34, 0-20) April 26-28, at Wake Forest (24-20, 7-14) May 10-12, vs. Georgia Tech (27-14, 11-10) May 16-18
Virginia Tech (25-17 9-12): vs. Virginia (37-6, 16-5) April 26-28, at Boston College (6-34, 0-20) May 3-5, vs. Wake Forest (24-20, 7-14) ay 16-18