DURHAM, N.C. – A lights out performance in the circle from Amelia Wiercioch was the highlight of a stellar Friday for the Duke Blue Devils (4-3), as her one-hitter capped off a pair of victories to open the 2018 Big Ten/ACC Challenge at the Duke Softball Stadium.
Wiercioch delivered the second shutout in program history, as she held the Purdue Boilermakers (1-6) hitless until 6.1 innings in. The California native struck out two, walked a pair of batters and threw 83 total pitches to earn her first victory of the season, as Duke downed Purdue, 1-0. It capped off a spectacular day for Wiercioch, who picked up her first-career save in the Devils’ first contest of the day, defeating Penn State (0-4), 7-5.
The day’s first win didn’t come without a little excitement, as the Blue Devils dug out of a 5-0 deficit to capture the win. The Nittany Lions used a pair of early hits and a Blue Devil fielding error to plate the first two runs in the second inning. Two more errors in the following inning would plate a trio of runs and give the visitors a commanding lead.
Duke began whittling away at PSU’s lead in the third thanks to a Jameson Kavel RBI single that scored Haley Wymbs, who earlier in the inning single in her first at-bat as a Blue Devil. Two more runs would come home in the fourth behind the program’s first home run off the bat of Katherine Huey, who ripped a two-run bomb to right center on a 2-0 pitch.
The comeback would be complete in the fifth, as Duke pushed three home to jump out in front, 6-5. A fielding error on the Nittany Lions would score Rachel Abboud and Kavel. Huey tacked on the third run with her second hit of the day, lacing a single into center to score Dominique Salinas.
Errors on the PSU defense would once again spark the Blue Devils at the plate, as an Abboud sac bunt put runners on second and third with one out, followed by an HBP for Raine Wilson that would load the bases. Wiercioch dropped in a sacrifice fly on the next at-bat for the insurance run, scoring Jazmine Moreno. Duke loaded the bases once more, but could not plate anymore runs after a groundout to the first baseman capped off the frame. From there, Huey recorded the first two outs of the seventh before giving way to Wiercioch, who slammed the door on the Nittany Lions.
A little more than 45 minutes later, the Blue Devils returned to the field to face the Boilermakers, starting off the contest with a 1-2-3 inning from Wiercioch. Kavel led off the home half of the first with a single through the left side and a stolen base, setting up the RBI double to left center by Abboud. Duke’s second run came from Kavel, as she delivered an infield single that scored Wymbs and gave the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead. After three-straight scoreless frames, the Blue Devils tacked on a pair of insurance runs thanks to a two-RBI triple from Kavel with two outs on the board to extend their lead to 4-0. From there, Wiercioch fended off a late Purdue rally to seal the Friday sweep. Offensively, the Blue Devils lit up the stat sheet on Friday with Kavel headlining behind a 5-for-6 day at the plate with four RBI, two runs and the first triple in program history. Reilly Metzger and Huey each went 3-for-6, with Huey drove in three runs. Abboud, Salinas and Wymbs each recorded a pair of hits. Huey threw 6.2 innings in the day’s first game, allowing five runs (only three unearned) to go along with a team-best nine strikeouts.
The Blue Devils will return Saturday, Feb. 17 for day two of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at the Duke Softball Stadium, facing Purdue at 12 p.m. ET. That contest will be live streamed on ACC Network Extra, which fans can access through WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app. The day will start at 9:30 a.m., with Virginia Tech facing off against Penn State.
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Duke Softball Program Firsts
At-Bat: Jameson Kavel vs. Florida Atlantic (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Pitch: Amelia Wiercioch vs. Florida Atlantic (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Baserunner: Jameson Kavel (Walked, 1st Inning) vs. Florida Atlantic (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Hit: Amelia Wiercioch (Double, 1st Inning) vs. Florida Atlantic (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Single: Rachel Abboud (3rd Inning) vs. Florida Atlantic (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Double: Amelia Wiercioch (1st Inning) vs. Florida Atlantic (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Triple: Jameson Kavel (6th Inning) vs. Purdue, Feb. 16, 2018
Home Run: Katherine Huey (Two-run homer, 4th Inning) vs. Penn State, Feb. 16, 2018
Walk: Jameson Kavel (1st Inning) vs. Florida Atlantic (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Stolen Base: Dominique Salinas (2nd Inning) vs. Florida Atlantic (Game 2), Feb. 8, 2018
Run Scored: Raine Wilson (1st Inning, Amelia Wiercioch 2 RBI Double) vs. Florida Atlantic (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Run Batted In: Amelia Wiercioch (1st Inning) vs. Florida Atlantic (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Strikeout: Amelia Wiercioch (Strikeout Looking) vs. Florida Atlantic (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Win (Team): Feb. 8, 2018 vs. Florida Atlantic [Game 1] (4-3)
Home Win: Feb. 16, 2018 vs. Penn State (7-5)
Away Win: Feb. 8, 2018 vs. Florida Atlantic [Game 1] (4-3)
Neutral Win: Feb. 9, 2018 vs. Michigan State (3-0)
Extra Innings Game: Feb. 10, 2018 vs. Boston University (L, 7-4)
Win (Individual): Katherine Huey vs. Florida Atlantic (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Save: Amelia Wiercioch vs. Penn State, Feb. 16, 2018
One-Hitter: Amelia Wiercioch vs. Purdue, Feb. 16, 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