Duke vs Texas Tech

Duke vs Texas Tech: Duke dominated at the plate Sunday night, beating Texas Tech 11-2 to force a winner-takes-all Super Regional final game Monday. One more will send the Blue Devils to their first College World Series since 1961.

“So we like lightning delays and we like elimination games,” Duke coach Chris Pollard said. “It was that way in Athens. We used a lightning delay to kind of get ourselves reset, get our offense going, and we’ve been really comfortable playing with our backs against the wall.”

The Blue Devils (45-17) scored 11 runs on 16 hits, getting on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Zack Kone and Griffin Conine hit back-to-back singles, then Joey Loperfido (three hits with three RBIs) scored both with a no-out triple. A ground out later, Max Miller doubled in the freshman first baseman then Chris Crabtree doubled to score Miller, putting Duke ahead 4-0.

Chris Proctor started the fifth inning with a lead-off double, then stole third base. Kone singled to right field to extend the Blue Devils lead, 5-0, and Texas Tech (43-18) replaced ace Caleb Kilian with Kurt Wilson.

Kilian (9-2) allowed five runs and eight hits — both career highs — in four-plus innings.

Conine singled, then Wilson walked Loperfido. Kennie Taylor picked up his first hit of the day with a RBI single, making it 6-0. Miller continued the scoring, hitting a triple down the right field line and clearing the bases for a 9-0 lead.

Crabtree struck out looking and Wilson hit Jack Labosky before Texas Tech went to the bullpen again. Jimmy Herron flied out to center field off the first pitch Connor Queen threw, scoring Miller on the sacrifice before the end of the inning for a 10-0 lead.

Sophomore lefty Graeme Stinson (5-1), making only his fourth start in 23 appearances this season, threw six scoreless innings with six strikeouts.

“We got an unbelievable pitching outing from Graeme Stinson,” Pollard said. “When we did score, he put up a couple of really big shutdown innings.”

The Red Raiders’ first chance at scoring came in the sixth inning. Josh Jung hit a two-out single, then Grant Little doubled to right field. Jung advanced to third and was tagged out at home, the 10-0 score holding up after replay review reversed the initial call at the plate for the third out of the inning.

Stinson replaced by Davis to start the seventh, then Michael Davis tripled with two outs. Kennie Taylor was injured on the play, landing awkwardly on his right leg trying to limit the damage of the line drive. Cody Farhat followed that up with a RBI double to put Texas Tech on the board, 10-1.

The home team added another run in the eighth inning and Duke did the same as Loperfido picked up his third RBI of the day.

Monday’s 4 p.m. game will decide whether Duke joins North Carolina in Omaha or if its season ends and Texas Tech advances to the College World Series for the third time in five seasons. The Blue Devils have been to three CWS in their history.

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