It’s no secret that a torn ACL is widely considered among the worst possible injuries in sports, with a recovery timeline that can extend over a year. But, while many athletes have had their careers derailed by the ailment, Duke baseball’s MJ Metz has done everything but let the dreaded diagnosis slow him down.

Metz, one of the Blue Devils’ top sluggers, appeared to be gone for the season after tearing his ACL in an 8–7 loss to N.C. State in the ACC Tournament on May 23. However, much to the surprise of college baseball fans everywhere, Duke kept the injured graduate student active leading up to Day 1 of the Conway Regional on Friday.

As it turns out, that decision astonishingly paid off in Duke’s opening matchup against UNC-Wilmington as Metz crushed not one or two, but three home runs in three consecutive at-bats in his first game since the injury.  

Metz’s first big-time bomb in the fourth inning tied the game after the Blue Devils fell into an early 2–0 hole, while his two moonshots later in the contest contributed to a runaway 12–3 victory over the Seahawks.

A four-year player at Trinity University in San Antonio, Metz has been a pivotal piece for Duke since joining the program as a graduate transfer last August. 

Prior to Friday, the 6-foot-6 designated hitter logged 13 home runs this season, good enough for second-most on the team. But, thanks to his inspiring display against UNCW, Metz is now Duke’s home run leader with 16.

With Metz seemingly back in the fold going forward, it’ll be fascinating to see what the San Diego native does for an encore in Duke’s next matchup. The team will return to action on Saturday for a showdown against the winner of Friday’s meeting between top-seeded Coastal Carolina and Rider.