FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
DURHAM, N.C. – Thirty-five home games, including home ACC series against NC State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Boston College, highlight the Duke baseball team’s 2009 schedule, released Friday by head coach Sean McNally.
Fresh off one of the most successful seasons in school history, the Blue Devils (37-18-1, 10-18-1 ACC in 2008) have set up a challenging slate for 2009 that includes six teams that played in NCAA Regionals, three more which advanced to NCAA Super Regionals and two – North Carolina and Miami – that made it to the College World Series.
Along with the Tar Heels and ACC Champion Hurricanes, Duke will take on NCAA Regional qualifiers NC State, Virginia and Georgia Tech in addition to a home-and-away series with defending Southern Conference champion Elon. Each of those teams won at least 39 games in 2008 and were ranked in a national top-25 poll at some point in the season.
The Blue Devils will also take on 30-game winners UNC Greensboro and Liberty in non-conference action along with a three-game series against Ivy League runner-up Dartmouth.
Duke will play a total of 10 three-game ACC series against every team in the conference except for Florida State. The Blue Devils will take on Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Clemson, Maryland and Boston College in addition to the five other NCAA Regional qualifiers from the ACC. The 2009 slate also includes four doubleheaders, including one against La Salle, Dartmouth, NC Central and at Presbyterian, and the ACC Tournament on May 20-24 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The first pitch is slated for 3 p.m. on Feb. 20 at the open of a four-game home series against La Salle, which will kick off a run of 11 straight home games to open the season for the Blue Devils. Duke will then host Dartmouth for a three-game set the following weekend on Feb. 28-March 1 before welcoming UNC Greensboro to Jack Coombs Field for a mid-week matchup on March 4.
The Blue Devils will then open the ACC season with a three-game series against Virginia Tech at home on March 4-6. Duke will then hit the road for the first time and head to Lynchburg, Va., to face Liberty on March 10 in the first of a two-game home-and-away series before returning to Jack Coombs Field the next night for a 3 p.m. showdown against Quinnipiac.
Duke will then head south to face defending ACC Champion Miami in the team’s first road ACC series of the year. The Blue Devils will then return home briefly for a two-game series against Maryland-Eastern Shore on March 17-18 before heading down Highway 15-501 to face in-state rival North Carolina on March 20-22.
Five straight home games then await Duke after the consecutive road weekends, beginning with a two-game set against Alabama A&M on March 24-25. The series with the Bulldogs will precede another conference showdown against an in-state rival when Wake Forest comes to town the following weekend for a three-game series on March 27-29.
The Blue Devils will round out March against neighboring NC Central on March 31 in a continuation of a series that began last season in the Eagles’ first year in Division I. The game will take place at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home to the Durham Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Duke will return home the following night to take on defending SoCon champion Elon, which went 44-18 in 2008 on the way to an automatic berth to the Cary, N.C., NCAA Regional. A trip down to Clemson, S.C., to face the Clemson Tigers follows those mid-week bouts on April 3-5.
Duke and NC Central will then wrap up their series with a double-header at Jack Coombs Field on April 7 before Duke hits the road once again for a trip to UNC Greensboro on April 8. NC State will be waiting for Duke the following weekend, April 10-12, for a three-game conference series.
SoCon members Davidson and Wofford are next up for the Blue Devils, as they travel to Durham on April 14-15 for two mid-week bouts, both at 7 p.m. Duke will then head to College Park, Md., for the first time since 2006 to face Maryland on April 17-19.
Duke stays on the road the next week and heads to Elon on April 22 before returning to Jack Coombs Field for a three-game showdown against Boston College on April 24-26. A rare mid-week overnight road trip then follows, as Duke plays at Davidson on May 5 and follows with a noon doubleheader against Presbyterian the next night on May 6.
The Blue Devils will stay on the road the next weekend and head to Charlottesville, Va., for a three-game set against Virginia on May 8-10. Duke took two of three at home against the Cavaliers last season when they were ranked 16th in the nation.
The trip to Charlottesville will be the last road series of the regular season for Duke, as they return to Durham to wrap up the series against Liberty with a single meeting on May 12. Duke will complete its 2009 regular season on May 14-16 at home against Georgia Tech before participating in the ACC Tournament on May 20-24 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.