Key Seniors Find Strides For DukeAt The Ballpark
DURHAM, N.C. — Duke’s junior class has gotten plenty of attention over the last year, and justifiably so. Griffin Conine, Jimmy Herron and Zack Kone were all Cape Cod League all-stars, and all headed into 2018 as potential top-five-rounds draft prospects, led by Conine, widely regarded as a likely first-rounder. The juniors were certainly a big reason for Duke’s preseason Top 25 ranking, but they were hardly the only reason.
The Blue Devils have done a good job stockpiling talent in each of their last four classes — starting with the current seniors, who have helped elevate the program to new heights over the course of their careers. Two years ago, this group played an instrumental role in leading Duke to regionals for the first time since 1961. This year, the seniors are hungry for even more.
Two of Duke’s most prominent seniors played major roles in Saturday’s 4-1 win against Miami, clinching the Blue Devils’ second straight ACC series (against perennial conference powers Virginia and Miami, no less). The Devils are now 15-3 overall and 4-1 in the ACC, and they’ll get a chance to try for the sweep of the Hurricanes on Sunday. In other words, almost a third of the way through the season, they’re living up to that preseason Top 25 billing.
Senior two-way talent Jack Labosky helped the Devils jump out to a 3-0 lead with a two-run homer over the Blue Monster in the first inning, and he moved to the mound in the ninth to nail down the save. In between, senior lefthander Mitch Stallings stifled the Hurricanes; he allowed just one run on five hits and three walks while striking out eight over eight strong innings of work.