PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO – On the final day of their international venture to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the Duke Blue Devils (2-2) split a pair of contests to the Liberty Flames (1-2) and the No. 3 Washington Huskies (2-1). Duke downed the Flames, 3-1, before falling an evening matchup to the Huskies, 4-1.
Duke 3, Liberty 1
Caroline Jacobsen had a standout performance in the day’s first game to seal the Blue Devils’ second win of the season. The freshman right fielder went 2-for-3 with two runs driven in, a run scored and her first-career homer to help secure Duke’s 3-1 win.
Deja Davis led things off with a hit by pitch and followed by picking up her third stolen base of the weekend. She would advance to third on a fly out and then be brought home off a sac fly from Rachel Abboud to make it 1-0. Then came Jacobsen in the second, who crushed the first pitch she saw just right of the foul pole in left for a solo shot that made it 2-0 to the Blue Devils.
Jacobsen returned for more in the fourth, bringing home Jameson Kavel on a single down the right field line. Kavel set up the RBI base hit with a single of her own and her first stolen base of the year to get into scoring position.
Liberty would threaten in each of the final three innings, including getting a run back in the seventh on a bases-loaded walk to cut Duke’s lead to 3-1. However, Amelia Wiercioch came on in relief and produced a pair of groundouts to seal the contest.
Jacobsen was the lone Blue Devil to tally a multi-hit performance in the game, with three other players picking one hit. Deja Davis picked up the first extra-base knock of her career with a double in the top of the fifth. Brianna Butler (1-0) earned the start for Duke, going 4.1 tough innings and scattering five hits while not allowing a single run. Peyton St. George came on for 2.0 innings of relief before Wiercioch (1) tossed the final two outs to pick up her first save of the campaign.
The win also marked the first ranked victory in Duke softball history, as the Flames checked in at No. 22 in the inaugural Softball America Top 25.
No. 3 Washington 4, Duke 1
Despite a strong start, the Duke Blue Devils fell in a 4-1 decision to the No. 3 Washington Huskies to close out their time at the 2019 Puerto Vallarta College Challenge.
Duke came out firing against the Huskies, fueled by an outstanding at-bat from Marissa Gagliano. After fighting off pitch after pitch to stay alive, Gagliano drilled the ninth one through the right side for the game’s first hit. A wild pitch would move her to second, setting the scene for a double from Abboud that pushed the shortstop across home plate, making it 1-0 for the Blue Devils.
However, it did not take long for Washington to respond, as the Huskies plated two of their own in the home half of the first to take a 2-1 lead. A pair of RBI singles in the second would make it a 4-1 lead for the Huskies, which they would hold for the remainder of the contest.
Four Blue Devils picked up hits on the night, led by Abboud’s RBI double in the first. Gagliano, Dominique Salinas and Jazmine Moreno rounded out the Duke offensive effort. Wiercioch (1-1) started for the Blue Devils, going 2.2 innings. Shelby Walters pitched the final 3.1 frames, tossing three strikeouts and surrendering just three hits along with no runs.
The Blue Devils are back in action on Wednesday, Feb. 13 as they head to Buies Creek, N.C., to take on the Campbell Camels in their first midweek of 2019. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. ET.
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