The Blue Devils once again face a challenging slate as 29 of Duke’s 55 contests are against teams that registered 30 or more wins a season ago. In addition, the Blue Devils’ 2017 schedule consists of 25 games versus 2016 NCAA Tournament participants, including series against Princeton, Wake Forest, Virginia, Miami, Boston College, Louisville and Georgia Tech.
“We’re very excited to kick off the 2017 campaign,” said Pollard. “I certainly think this schedule, both non-conference and conference, will be as challenging as any we’ve played in my five years at Duke. Last year we played the 13th toughest schedule in the country and this year’s should prove to be as tough or tougher a slate. I have no doubt, that if we perform up to our capabilities, this is the type of schedule that will produce a good resume for postseason play.”
Coming off the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid since 1961, Duke opens the spring in Surprise, Ariz., taking on Oregon State, Gonzaga and Indiana Feb. 17-19. Duke and Gonzaga have never faced each other on the baseball diamond, while the Blue Devils clash with the Beavers and the Hoosiers for the first time since 1952 and 1951, respectively.
Duke opens its home schedule Feb. 24-26 against Army West Point at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The Blue Devils begin ACC play March 10-12 versus Virginia Tech. Duke’s remaining home conference slate features series against Wake Forest (March 17-19), Pitt (March 31 – April 2), Boston College (April 13-15) and Georgia Tech (May 12-14).
“The ACC will be as strong if not stronger than ever,” Pollard said. “We’re certainly excited for the home slate of ACC games that we welcome to Durham this spring.”
The Blue Devils hit the road for league series at Virginia (March 24-26), Miami (April 7-9), Louisville (April 21-23), Notre Dame (April 28-30) and North Carolina (May 18-20).
Duke does not play ACC opponents Clemson, Florida State or NC State during the 2017 regular season.
In non-conference action, Duke hosts series versus Army West Point and Princeton as well as single home games against Southern California (Feb. 27), Mount St. Mary’s (March 8), East Carolina (March 15), UMES (March 21), Davidson (March 28), North Carolina A&T (March 29), NCCU (April 19), Presbyterian (April 26), Campbell (May 9) and Liberty (May 16).
Duke is also set to take on the Durham Bulls April 4 at the DBAP in an exhibition game prior to the start of the Bulls’ regular season.
Duke’s road non-conference schedule includes games at NCCU (Feb. 21), Liberty (March 7), Campbell (April 11) and East Carolina (May 10).
The Blue Devils went 33-24 this past season to earn the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid in 55 years. After beginning the 2016 season 10-13 (1-7 ACC), Duke went 23-9 over its final 32 regular season games, including a 9-7 mark against top 20 RPI teams. With 33 wins, Duke reached the 30-win milestone for the third straight year, marking the program’s first stretch of three-straight 30-win seasons since 1992-98.
Duke brings back all eight starting position players from its 2016 roster and returns both 2016 All-ACC picks in sophomore outfielder Jimmy Herron and junior third baseman Jack Labosky. The Blue Devils return 23 letterwinners in total and add 11 newcomers for the 2017 campaign.