Advertisement

Duke baseball defeats Oral Roberts, stays alive in NCAA Tournament Norman Regional

Following his team’s NCAA Tournament-opening loss to UConn, Duke head coach Chris Pollard compared his 2024 squad to the one that won the 2018 Athens Regional after losing its first game.

“I have no doubt offensively we’ll bounce back,” Pollard said Friday.

He was right.

Duke conjured sixth inning magic Saturday, defeating Oral Roberts, 6-2, to avoid elimination in the NCAA Norman Regional and extend its season.

The Blue Devils (40-19) had several opportunities to score early — similar to its loss to UConn in the first game of the tournament — but couldn’t push anyone across.

Unlike Friday, they finally found gaps — and a handful of home runs — against Oral Roberts (27-32-1).

It took four innings for Duke to get on board after stranding three runners in the first three innings. Catcher Alex Stone led off with a single and advanced to scoring position when Chase Krewson grounded out. Center fielder Devin Obee drove in Stone with an RBI single.

Two innings later, in the third time through the lineup, Stone added a leadoff double. Krewson and Wallace Clark recorded their first hits of the day and gave Duke a 3-0 lead.

Designated hitter Jimmy Evans hit a two run-blast to right field, his first home run of the season, and put the Blue Devils up five.

Obee added insurance in the top of the eighth when he led off with a solo shot to right center field.

Duke finished with 11 hits, three doubles, a triple, and drew three walks.

The Blue Devils’ pitching staff struck out nine batters and held the Golden Eagles to five hits — two were solo home runs.

Left-handed pitcher Jonathan Santucci made his first start for Duke since the Georgia Tech series. The First Team All-ACC selection did not play in the ACC Championship due to a rib injury. Blue Devils head coach Chris Pollard told the media Friday that he planned to start Santucci but would limit his pitch count.

Santucci had four strikeouts, giving up one hit and a pair of walks in two innings of work.

Four other pitchers made appearances, with freshman Kyle Johnson leading the team with three innings pitched. The lefty gave up two hits and one run, but he struck out 3 of 11 batters faced.

This story will be updated with quotes and postgame information.