PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO – A late rally for the Duke Blue Devils (1-1) fell just short on Friday night in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as they dropped a 3-2 decision to No. 9 South Carolina (2-1).
Down 3-1 with six outs remaining, the Blue Devils drew within one off of Raine Wilson’s second triple in as many games. Duke nearly leveled the game in the home half of the seventh, but was turned back by the Gamecocks as they handed the Blue Devils their first loss of the year.
South Carolina wasted no time in getting things going, plating the game’s first run in the opening frame behind a single, hit by pitch and fielding error. An RBI double in the third pushed USC’s lead to 2-0.
Duke would cut the lead to one an inning later thanks to the bat of freshman Caroline Jacobsen. Rachel Abboud got things started by working the count full and then drawing a walk, setting up a Jameson Kavel single that put two on for the Blue Devils. Two batters later, Jacobsen would drive in the first run of the contest for Duke with a single to right center.
After South Carolina upped its lead back to two with an RBI single to make it 3-1, Wilson’s triple to right center pushed Kavel home for the second time on the night, making it 3-2 USC. An inning later, Kristina Foreman would lead things off with a single to center that the outfielder just missed on making a diving catch. She would be pushed to second off a sac bunt from Hannah Pridemore, but would go no further as South Carolina fended off the rally and secured the win.
Wilson and Kavel led the way for Duke with two hits each, while Kavel scored two runs and Wilson turned in an RBI to go with her triple. The freshman trio of Deja Davis, Jacobsen and Foreman each tallied one hit on the night. Shelby Walters (0-1) earned her first-career start on the night, highlighted by her first strikeout. Amelia Wiercioch came in on relief duty for the second-straight game, throwing 4.0 innings and striking out two while scattering three hits and allowing one run.
The Blue Devils close the week out on Saturday with a doubleheader against Liberty (4 p.m. ET) and Washington (9:30 p.m.). Both contests will be live streamed on FloSoftball.com.
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