In my opinion Duke has been a scrappy team, fighting with some teams til the end, and they have the ability to sneak up on you a little. They split a series with UGA earlier this year, and took 2 from UNC at home, in addition to handling most of their midweek competition. However since that UNC series, they've been swept at home by Miami, lost 2 of 3 to BC on the road, and were swept by Georgia Tech. Except for the games against Tech, they've been in each game and they're generally not blown apart. From the game articles i've read of them this year doing the Weekend Roundups, they seem to play good fundamental baseball, and extremely good defense (Top 5 nationally), but dont have the offensive firepower they need to consistently beat people.
Clemson won 2 of 3 against Duke at home last year, but lost to them in the ACC Tournament. Clemson and Duke have met 182 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 117-63-2 lead in the series dating back to the 1904 season. The Tigers hold a 46-26-1 lead all-time in games played at Duke. Clemson also holds a 93-32-2 advantage in games played in the ACC regular season. Head Coach Jack Leggett is 37-13-1 against Duke as Clemson's head coach, including a 16-7-1 road record against the Blue Devils.
Duke was demolished by Georgia Tech in a weekend series in Atlanta by scores of 13-3, 21-5, and 9-4. They defeated William & Mary in their only midweek game 9-5.
Clemson crushed Georgia 15-5 and 14-6, and took 2 of 3 from Boston College.
Kyle Parker is slated to play in the Spring Game Saturday, but should be in Durham Fri/Sun.
Several players on the Duke squad could take the mound here but as of now its unannounced. Of those, I suspect it would be Chase Bebout (3-0, 3.42 ERA), Jon Foreman (1-0, 4.71) or Eric Pfisterer (2-3, 7.24).
Duke has the fewest strikeouts in the ACC, for the 3rd straight year. Ryan McCurdy has only struck out 38 times in nearly 700 ABs and is the ACC's all-time HBP leader. Jake Lemmerman enters this series on a 13-game hit streak and has 4 homers in the last 6 games. During the streak he's hitting .327 with 12 RBIs and has reached in 29 straight games. Jeremy Gould has a 9-game streak and is hitting .390 during this streak.
Jack Leggett said last week that Richie Shaffer is expected to return to the lineup this weekend, and since I havent heard anything contrary to that, I've reinserted him below. I would not be surprised if Lamb continued to play since he's been pretty consistent at the plate. Chris Epps' average has come up over 30 points since last week and Mike Freeman has really pulled his average up too, by around 20 points. With the top of the order getting better, we could start climbing back up the polls.
Clemson's pen has guys going in different directions. Meyer has been good in short stints but when he goes longer he tends to hit a rough spot. Against Georgia he was lights out for 2 innings and then gave up 3 hits in his 3rd, giving up 2 runs and raising his ERA to 5.60. I still believe he's going to be a good one for us in the future, he's got 2 good pitches.
Tomas Cruz has been shaky and tends to aim his pitches but his ERA is coming down from OMFG-level. I still am not confident that he's got anything worked out, but when we get ahead big, its time to bring him in and let him work through it.
Haselden, Frederick and Brady have all been pretty damn good otherwise, especially Haselden. David has a 3-2 record with a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings, having struck out 19. Frederick has been a go-to guy in middle relief of late too, with a 3.28 ERA in 24 2/3 innings and 20 Ks.
Duke's starting pitching has been up and down and they haven't figured out who works best where yet. While they did well against BC, they were destroyed by GT. Other than that problem it looks like a better bullpen than Clemson's statistically. Ben Grisz is the most consistent guy out of the pen, with a 2-1 record and 2.93 ERA with 3 saves in 27.2 IP. Manno is another guy consistent out of the pen who has been moved into the rotation because of Pfisterer's problems (7+ ERA in 7 starts). Chase Bebout, Foreman, and Mike Ness have all racked up the innings in midweek games.
Clemson should sweep this series, setting us up for a road trip to Atlanta next week.