Originally created 05/14/98

Duke blanks Tech 4-0 in ACC tourney



DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke is in unfamiliar territory -- the winner's bracket of the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament.

The seventh-seeded Blue Devils snapped a 12-game losing streak in the ACC postseason, getting a brilliant four-hitter from ace Stephen Cowie in a 4-0 victory over No. 2 seed Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Duke last won an ACC tourney opener in 1984.

"I think we are a scary team; by scary, I mean we're a solid baseball team," said Duke coach Steve Traylor. "If you look down our schedule and the scores of our games, we were a very consistent, competitive team all year. We didn't do a real good job of closing games out all year."

Cowie took care of that Wednesday. As usual, the right-hander had pinpoint control, walking only one Georgia Tech hitter and holding down one of the nation's most potent offenses to a season-low hit total.

The Yellow Jackets (37-19) had won 12 of their past 13 ACC openers before falling to the Blue Devils (38-18), who started the season 15-0 but fell into a midseason slump.

"If we win another couple of games in this tournament it will definitely be redemption for some of the things that went on this season," Cowie said. "We feel like we are a better team than where we are ranked right now, so it was good to come out and beat the No. 2 seed."

Georgia Tech hopes the loss won't hamper a possible NCAA at-large bid.

"Like I told the team, we don't want to have the fate of our continuing to play come to a committee," said Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall. "We need to earn it."

Duke jumped on Georgia Tech starter Scott Prather (3-4) for three runs in the first inning. J.D. Alleva knocked in a run with a long double to center field and Ed Conrey belted a two-run homer, his 16th of the season.

Georgia Tech had runners on second and third in the bottom of the inning, but Cowie (11-2) worked out of the jam and on the way to his fifth complete game of the season and first Duke shutout in the ACC postseason in 11 years.

Duke got an insurance run in the sixth inning to give Traylor his 600th career victory, 268 of which came as head coach of Florida Atlantic.

Alleva went 3-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 16 straight games.