DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) –
The Duke Blue Devils shrugged off their opening game loss to Liberty and showed off their muscle at the plate today ripping off a season high 6 home runs and taking down Wright State 14-6 to stay alive in the Knoxville Regional.
“We swung the bat really well over the last five innings of the ballgame yesterday, and we were able to carry that into today,” said Duke head coach Chris Pollard. “There is no question that we carried momentum from the last five innings of yesterday into today.”
Junior RJ Schreck enjoyed a monster day at the plate, going 4-for-6 with three home runs and a double. His three home runs are a career-high and the most by a Blue Devil since Evan Dougherty did so against Ohio State on Feb. 26, 2016.
“Probably 15 minutes before the game today, RJ (Schreck) came up to me and said, ‘That was the best batting practice I’ve ever had. Every ball I hit was at least 100-plus.’ And we saw the results,”said Duke Junior Ethan Murray. “So obviously something was clicking there.”
“Our operations guy gave me a little tip before the game on what to do. He still hasn’t told me why he told me that, but I’m grateful that he did,” said Duke Junior RJ Schreck. “I didn’t know it was going to help, but it was the best game I’ve ever played, so thanks to him.”
“I can’t say enough about the job by RJ Schreck. He accounted for five home runs. He hit three and he stole two,” said coach Pollard. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a game play out that way.”
As good RJ was offensively, he was equally good defensively. Wright State threatened in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with one out. The Raiders’ Tyler Black stepped up to the plate and scorched a ball to left field, but a stellar catch on a well-timed jump allowed Schreck to rob the grand slam.
“Off the bat, I thought it was going to be a routine fly ball I would have a chance at. And the wind was blowing out to left at that point and the ball just kept going. I also got great communication from our bullpen down there. They let me know where the track and the fence were, and I was able to time up my jump perfectly and bring back a grand slam to help our pitcher out,” said Schreck. “I told someone earlier this year that I had a chance to do the same thing and I caught it, but my glove hit the top of the wall and the ball fell over for a home run. So, it was nice to actually bring one back.”
The win propels them one step closer to their goal of winning the region but they still need two more wins. Forget the next game right now the approach Blue Devils approach is the next inning.
“One thing I’ve challenged our guys with in this environment is being really great at knowing where your feet are. You can’t get caught up in what might happen two games from now,” said coach Pollard. “We have to go out and be great at 2 p.m. tomorrow in game five of the tournament. We’ll let the chips fall where they will, and we’ll go out and compete with everything we have and whoever is available for us in the second game.”