Duke Sports Information – Duke baseball, who is making its third-consecutive NCAA Regional appearance, was tabbed the second seed in the Knoxville Regional of the 2021 NCAA Baseball Championship, the NCAA announced Monday afternoon.
Regionals will run June 4-7 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville Tenn.
Duke (32-20) is slated to open the regional against the No. 3 seed in Liberty (39-40) on Friday at 12 p.m. on ACC Network. Host Tennessee (45-16) earned the top seed and will open play against Wright State (35-11) at 6 p.m. on Friday.
The winner of the double-elimination NCAA Regional will advance to a best-of-three NCAA Super Regional, which will run June 11-13 or 12-14. The Knoxville Regional winner will face the winner of the Eugene Regional, which features No. 14 Oregon, Gonzaga, LSU and Central Connecticut State. The College World Series will be played in Omaha, Neb., from June 19-29.
Duke’s 2021 NCAA Regional appearance marks the first time in program history that Duke will compete at the event in three consecutive seasons, having also reached regional play in 2018 and 2019. The 2020 season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and no national tournament was played.
Head coach Chris Pollard will lead the Blue Devils to a regional for the fourth time in eight seasons (2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021). Prior to Pollard arriving at Duke, the Blue Devils had competed in just five NCAA Tournaments (1952, 1953, 1956, 1957 and 1961).
Duke claimed the ACC’s automatic bid into the tournament after winning its first ACC title in 60 years following a 1-0 victory Sunday over third-seeded NC State. The ninth-seeded Blue Devils topped fourth-seeded Miami and fifth-seeded Florida State in pool play before defeating eighth-seeded Virginia, 4-2, in the conference semifinal game.
<p>Senior <b><a href="https://goduke.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=16661" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Joey Loperfido</a></b> was named the ACC Championship MVP after going 7-for-18 at the plate with three doubles and two home runs. Classmate <b><a href="https://goduke.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=16670" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Michael Rothenberg</a></b> and junior <b><a href="https://goduke.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=16676" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cooper Stinson</a></b> joined Loperfido on the ACC All-Tournament team.<br /> </p> <p>After the baseball team's title, Duke finished the 2020-21 athletic year with seven conference championships -- tying the school record for most in an academic year and leading all ACC programs this year. In addition to Pollard's group, Duke's seven team titles in 2020-21 also included softball, women's outdoor track and field, men's and women's fencing, women's golf and men's lacrosse. The Blue Devils finish the year as the ACC leader in team titles, three clear of North Carolina and Florida State which each captured four.</p> <p>Duke becomes just the third ACC program to sweep the baseball and softball championships in the same season, joining Florida State (1995, 1997, 2004, 2015, 2017, 2018) and Georgia Tech (2005, 2012). The only Power 5 conference institution to sweep the baseball and softball titles this season, Duke joins McNeese State (Southland Conference) as the only Division-I schools to sweep the baseball and softball conference titles this season.</p>