The Joltin Jackets have been on a hot streak during the month of March even though losses served as bookends to the month. They began with a loss to Georgia State to start the month and didn't have another loss until Tuesday's loss to Mercer. Before Tuesday, the Jackets held the nation's longest winning streak with 16 games and picked up a ton of momentum after sweeping Miami for the first time since 1967 and the first time ever in Coral Gables. Recent success has propelled them as high as #6 in one poll. This weekend Coach Danny Hall and the team hope to begin April in grand fashion and remain perfect in ACC play when they travel to Durham to take on the Duke Blue Devils.
Duke sits in 5th place in the Coastal Division with a 15-12 overall record and 2-7 record in conference games. As hot as the Jackets have been lately, Duke has taken the opposite route. The Blue Devils have lost their last 7 games. Their record is not stellar, but the Blue Devils boast a record of 15-4 record in Durham so they are still not a team to be taken lightly with this weekend's series being a home series for them.
Statistically, Duke sits in the middle of the ACC in most statistical categories. Catcher Jeff Kremer leads the Devils in hitting with a .379 average. Friday/Saturday starter Dennis O'Grady is 4-1 on the season 4.50 ERA. Will Piwnica-Worms is 13-15 in stolen bases so he is one to watch out for if he gets on base. Even with a middle-of-the-road batting average, the Blue Devils have a serious lack of power tallying only 4 home runs on the year (for comparison, GT has 18 and VT leads the ACC with 28). The Jackets swept Duke last year in Atlanta, but lost 2 out of 3 the last time they visited the Devils in Durham.
Danny Hall spoke to us about this weekend's series and is ready to put the Mercer loss behind him and move on to this weekend. He knows that Duke is still a quality team. "They've played everybody pretty hard and pretty tough even though their record in the league is probably not as good as they would like to have it," Hall said. "They'll be ready to play. We've got to regroup now and get ready to start a new streak." With some veteran players and the opportunity to play at home the Jackets will certainly need to take the Blue Devils seriously this weekend in order to keep their perfect ACC record alive.
This weekend's series:
Time - Probable Pitchers
Friday (6:00 pm) - Mark Pope vs. Chase Bebout
Saturday (2:00 pm) - Jed Bradley vs. Dennis O'Grady
Sunday (1:00 pm) - Buck Farmer vs. Dillon Haviland