Duke staves off elimination again by beating Texas Tech

The Blue Devils have won five straight elimination games in the NCAA baseball tournament and are now one win from the College World Series

Duke left-hander Graeme Stinson threw six shutout innings Sunday to extend the Blue Devils' season (Duke athletics photo)

  LUBBOCK, Tex. — Duke’s mastery of elimination games in the NCAA baseball tournament continued Sunday with an 11-2 win at Texas Tech that forced a deciding Game 3 in its Super Regional Series against Texas Tech.

  The Blue Devils and Red Raiders have split the first two games and will meet again today to determine which will advance to the College World Series in Omaha next week.

  Duke (45-17) won four straight last week after an opening game loss to claim its regional in Athens, Ga. It survived another win-or-go-home situation Sunday thanks to the clutch pitching of sophomore left-hander Graeme Stinson and a six-run fifth inning outburst.

  “We’ve been really comfortable playing with our backs against the wall,” Blue Devils coach Chris Pollard said. “I talked on the bus today [about] all the different times over the course of the season, being in must-win ballgames with our backs against the wall. And I talked about how we responded in those games over the course of the season. Certainly that was on display last weekend in Athens. [I’m] just incredibly proud of our team and the way we responded.”

 Stinson pitched six scoreless innings, holding down a Texas Tech lineup that has averaged better than 10 runs per game at home this season. He allowed just five hits while striking out six in his first start since April 9.

  Offensively, the Blue Devils pounded out 16 hits, including three each by Griffin Conine and Joey Loperfido. It was the fourth time in this NCAA tournament that Duke has recorded double figure hits in a game.

  Max Miller, meanwhile, was front-and-center in both of the Blue Devils’ big innings with an RBI double in the middle of a four-run fourth inning a double and a bases loaded triple in the six-run fifth that broke the game open and staked Duke to a 10-0 lead.

  Chris Proctor, Zack Kone and Kennie Taylor added two hits each in the lopsided victory.