LUBBOCK (AP) – Duke is still playing in the NCAA Tournament after winning its fifth consecutive elimination game. One more will send the Blue Devils to their first College World Series since 1961.
Max Miller drove in four runs, Joey Loperfido had three hits with three RBIs and Duke forced a deciding Game 3 in their super regional with an 11-2 win at Texas Tech on Sunday night, after weather delayed the start about 75 minutes.
“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) lost their opener in the NCAA Athens Regional before winning four in a row, coming from behind in each of them. They started their first-ever super regional with a 6-4 loss on Saturday.
Game 3 in Lubbock is Monday, when Texas Tech (43-18) will try to get to Omaha for the third time in five seasons. The Blue Devils have been to three CWS in their history.
“The opportunity in front of us is what you’re looking for,” Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said. “Pretty resilient bunch.”
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.”
Texas Tech sophomore right-hander Caleb Kilian (9-2) allowed five runs and eight hits — both career highs — in four-plus innings.
The Blue Devils went ahead to stay on Loperfido’s two-run triple in the fourth, before Miller and Chris Crabtree had consecutive RBI doubles. Miller had a bases-loaded triple an inning later when they scored six more runs to take a 10-0 lead, and gave the senior infielder in his 214th game a career high for RBIs.
“It was great to have those two big innings right there in the middle to give Graeme a little bit of a breathing room,” Miller said. “He didn’t need a whole lot. He was ridiculous.”
Duke center fielder Kennie Taylor was 2 for 3, with two runs scored and RBI single, before hurting his right hamstring when trying to make a running, lunging catch in the seventh.
“He felt it as he made that last extension,” said Pollard, who didn’t know Taylor’s status for Game 3. “He was in some pain.”
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