The Alexandria Dukes, who finished last in the Carolina League in 1981, will open their season tonight at 7:30 in Hagerstown against the defending league champion Suns.

Duke Manager Johnny Lipon, Carolina League manager of the year two years ago at Salem, N.C., has not named a starting pitcher. Hagerstown, which won the league in its first year as a co-op team and this year is affiliated with the Orioles, is expected to start Ken Dixon, from Monroe, Va.

The Dukes will return to Four Mile Run Park in Alexandria Saturday night for their home opener against Hagerstown. They will be back in Hagerstown Sunday for an afternoon game and face the Suns again Monday night at home.

Few Dukes return from the team that finished 62-75 last year; they were second in the first half (33-34) and were last in the second half. The only holdovers are Mike Quade, an infielder who started last year with Alexandria and was then sent to Buffalo, and pitcher Ray Krawczyk, who came to the Dukes from Bradenton in mid-season.

Lipon, a veteran of 40 years in professional baseball, is also counting on first baseman Brad Garnett, a No. 1 draft choice in 1978; catcher Burk Goldthorn; outfielder Joseph Orsulak and pitcher Chris Green. Green, who spent last year in Greenwood, N.C., is the only left-hander on the Dukes' 11-man pitching staff.