DURHAM, N.C. - It was an all-out dominant performance by the Duke Blue Devils (12-6) Sunday afternoon at the Duke Softball Stadium, as they shut out the Kent State Golden Flashes (9-6) for an 8-0 run-rule victory, the first in program history.
The Blue Devils kept up their early-inning dominance that has been so frequently seen in their iaugural season, posting a three-run first and four-run third to jump out in front by seven after three frames of play. Duke now has 18 of its 79 runs for the year in the first inning, with 17 coming in the third.
Kent State opened the contest with a first-pitch single up the middle, but Amelia Wiercioch would step in to shut down the Golden Flashes to bring the Blue Devils up to the plate for the first time on the day. Jameson Kavel continued her impressive play at the leadoff position, singling to right center and then moving to second on a sac bunt from Jazmine Moreno. A Kent State throwing error allowed Jill Ferraro to reach safely and Kavel to come home. Another error followed for the Golden Flashes that put two runners on and led to back-to-back RBI singles from Wiercioch and Haley Wymbs to put Duke out in front, 3-0.
After threatening in the second, the Blue Devils opened the flood gates in the third to push out to a 7-0 lead. Ferraro reached on a hit by pitch and move to second on a Raine Wilson sac bunt. Singles from Wiercioch and Wymbs set up a Dominique Salinas single to left center that brought two runs home, with a third following on a throwing error from Kent State, its third of the day. A wild pitch two batters later would result in Duke's seventh run of the contest.
The nail in the coffin came in the home half of the fourth, as Wilson ripped a double down the left field line to push Rachel Abboud across home plate and move Duke to an 8-0 advantage. Brianna Butler would come on to close out the contest, ringing up a 1-2-3 frame to secure Duke's third-straight win and first run-rule victory in program history.
Six Blue Devils tallied hits on the day, including two-hit performances from Wiercioch and Wymbs and a two-RBI day from Salinas. Wiercioch (3-1) also picked up the win after throwing the first 4.0 innings of play, allowing no runs on two hits and fanning a trio of batters. For the weekend, Wiercioch 4-for-7 with six runs batted in and the program's first grand slam in history against Lehigh, a 5-3 Blue Devil win Saturday night, while also picking up a win and a save and posting a 0.54 ERA in 13.0 innings of work in the circle.
Duke will now turn its attention to the Charlotte 49ers, as the two will square off Tuesday, March 6 in a doubleheader in Charlotte at the Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET, with the second game to follow at 6 p.m. Then the Blue Devils will open ACC play for the first time, heading to Chapel Hill to face the North Carolina Tar Heels March 9-11. All three contests in the opening weekend of ACC play will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra, which fans can access through WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app.
For more information on Duke softball, follow the Blue Devils on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching for “DukeSoftball”. You can also find all-access coverage of all Duke athletic programs on SnapChat by searching for “dukeathletics”.
2018 Duke Softball Program Firsts...
Game: Feb. 8, 2018 vs. FAU (Game 1)
Win (Team): Feb. 8, 2018 vs. FAU (Game 1), 4-3
Win (Individual): Katherine Huey vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
At-Bat: Jameson Kavel vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Pitch: Amelia Wiercioch vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Baserunner: Jameson Kavel (Walked, 1st Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Hit: Amelia Wiercioch (Double, 1st Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Single: Rachel Abboud (3rd Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Double: Amelia Wiercioch (1st Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Walk: Jameson Kavel (1st Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Hit By Pitch: Ashleigh Rodriguez (7th Inning) vs. FAU (Game 2), Feb. 8, 2018
Run Batted In: Amelia Wiercioch (1st Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Sacrifice Hit: Jazmine Moreno (SAC Bunt, 1st Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Sacrifice Fly: Rachel Abboud (5th Inning) vs. FAU (Game 2), Feb. 8, 2018
Strikeout: Amelia Wiercioch (Strikeout Looking) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Stolen Base: Dominique Salinas (2nd Inning) vs. FAU (Game 2), Feb. 8, 2018
Complete Game: Katherine Huey vs. Michigan State, Feb. 9, 2018
Shutout: Katherine Huey vs. Michigan State, Feb. 9, 2018
Complete Game Shutout: Katherine Huey vs. Michigan State, Feb. 9, 2018
Extra Innings Game: Feb. 10, 2018 vs. Boston University (L, 7-4 )
Home Run: Katherine Huey (2-Run, 4th Inning) vs. Penn State, Feb. 16, 2018
Save: Amelia Wiercioch vs. Penn State, Feb. 16, 2018
Comeback Win: Feb. 16, 2018 vs. Penn State (Trailed 5-0 in T3, won 7-5)
Triple: Jameson Kavel (6th Inning) vs. Purdue, Feb. 16, 2018
One-Hitter: Amelia Wiercioch vs. Purdue, Feb. 16, 2018
Winning Streak: 5 Games (Feb. 16 vs. Penn State - Feb. 23 vs. Morgan State)
National POTW Honor: Katherine Huey (espnW), Feb. 21, 2018
Extra-Innings Win: March 2, 2018 vs. Yale (W, 4-3 )
Grand Slam: Amelia Wiercioch (4th Inning) vs. Lehigh, March 3, 2018
Run-Rule Victory: March 4, 2018 vs. Kent State (W, 8-0 )