PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Behind impressive showings on both sides of the ball, the Duke Blue Devils (6-9) closed out their time at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic with a 4-3 victory against the Utah Utes (5-10) Sunday morning.
The middle of the order shined for the Blue Devils in the win, as the 3-4-5 hitters collected six hits and drove in two runs on the day, led by a 3-for-4 showing from Rachel Abboud and 2-for-4 day from Jameson Kavel. In the circle, Brianna Butler (3-1) threw 4.1 innings in the start, striking out two for her third win of the year. Shelby Walters picked up the first save of her career, tossing 2.2 scoreless innings to close things out, scattering two hits and striking out one.
Defensively, the Blue Devils did not commit an error for the fourth contest this season, going 4-0 in those games.
Utah was able to jump out in front early, smashing a two-run homer to left in the opening frame to go up 2-0. Despite the home run, Butler stayed strong in the circle, keeping the Utes scoreless over the next three innings.
Duke’s offense came alive in the fourth and fifth innings, plating four runs to take the lead. Marissa Gagliano delivered a single through the left side to drive home Kristina Foreman and Dominique Salinas in the fourth, making it a 2-2 contest. Abboud, who turned in her best offensive game of the year, delivered two more runs in the fifth with her third hit of the day, pushing Duke ahead, 4-2.
An RBI triple in the home half of the fifth brought the Utes to within one. However, Walters retired nine of the final 11 batters to close out the contest and secure Duke’s sixth win of the year and first against a Pac-12 team in program history.
The Blue Devils now travel back to the east coast for a midweek matchup against USC Upstate on Wednesday, Feb. 27. First pitch from Spartanburg, S.C., is set for 4 p.m. ET.
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- Duke’s win is its first against a Pac-12 opponent and against a foe from the state of Utah.
- The Blue Devils are now 5-0 this year when leading after five innings.
- Duke did not commit an error on the day, the fourth time this season they have kept it clean defensively (4-0).
- Sunday’s win marked the first time this year Duke has won when its opponent scores first.
- Duke is now 5-0 this season when out-hitting its opponent. The Blue Devils had nine hits to Utah’s seven.
- Shelby Walters recorded her first-career save.
- With her 2-for-4 day, Jameson Kavel now has three multi-hit games this season, tying Deja Davis for the team lead.
- Marissa Gagliano and Raine Wilson both made diving catches on the final two outs of Sunday’s win.
- Gagliano’s two-RBI single in the fourth was her first multi-RBI performance as a Blue Devil.