Versatile Freiman Duke's clean-up hitter -- for now

Staff WriterFebruary 26, 2009 

  • * Seton Hall at North Carolina, 3 p.m. Friday

    * Oklahoma State at East Carolina, 3 p.m. Saturday

    * Hofstra at N.C. State, 1 p.m. Sunday

    * UNC-Greensboro at Duke, 3 p.m. Wednesday

    * Wake Forest at Elon, 4 p.m. Wednesday

    BAT OF THE WEEK

    East Carolina senior Stephen Batts of Wilmington hit .643 (9-for-14), including a double and a triple, and scored six runs in the Pirates' 3-0 start.

    ARM OF THE WEEK

    UNC senior Adam Warren has a 23-2 career record after adding a win over VMI on Saturday. In five shutout innings, the right-hander from New Bern gave up two hits and struck out six.

    ROOKIE OF THE WEEK

    N.C. State outfielder Pratt Maynard of Franklinton had eight hits, five runs and a home run and drove in six runs in his first 15 at-bats.

— One of Duke baseball coach Sean McNally's dilemmas has been where to hit star first baseman Nate Freiman.

Freiman, a 6-foot-8 senior, entered the season with the third highest batting average (.381) among the ACC's returning starters.

Freiman hit 11 homers last year and drove in 46 runs, so it's understandable that McNally pondered the merits of hitting Freiman third or fourth last week.

"I wrestle with that one a lot," McNally said.

What McNally doesn't want, though, is Freiman stepping up to the plate with two outs and nobody on base if he bats third. But putting him back a spot could mean he gets one less at-bat, perhaps a crucial one at the end of a game.

So Freiman hit fourth.

"If we're scoring, he'll stay there," McNally said. "If we're not, shoot, he'll hit second."

Freiman went 1-for-4 in Duke's season opener on Friday, a 5-2 loss to LaSalle.

McNally didn't budge, and the numbers played out the rest of the series. Freiman finished the four-game series with five hits (two of them homers) in 13 at-bats. He also had seven RBIs, all in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader.

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