SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Despite a strong start, the Duke Blue Devils (6-10) fell to the USC Upstate Spartans, 3-1, Wednesday night at Cyrill Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C.
The Blue Devils did not waste time getting on the board in the midweek contest, using a solo home run from Jameson Kavel in the first to take a 1-0 advantage. The homer is the first of Kavel’s season and second of her career.
Upstate evened the contest in the home half of the second, using a leadoff error, stolen base and a single to center to make it 1-1 on the scoreboard. After a double from Rachel Abboud in the top half of that frame, the Blue Devils were only able to reach base three times., all via walks, until the sixth. With two outs in the sixth, Abboud knocked a deep ball to the wall in left center to reel in her second double of the night and give Duke its third hit for the game.
After working around Abboud’s two-out double, the Spartans scored a pair of runs on two hits to push ahead, 3-1. Duke did not go down without a fight, however. Marissa Gagliano led things off with a single up the middle to spark the Blue Devils, as they would eventually put runners on first and second with one out. However, a strikeout and popup closed out the contest and gave USC Upstate the win in the first meeting between the two schools in Spartanburg.
Duke finished the night with four overall hits, led by Abboud’s two-hit showing. Joining Abboud was Kavel and Gagliano with one apiece. Amelia Wiercioch (1-3) got the start for the night, going the full 7.0 innings and strikingfour in the process.
The Blue Devils now return home for the final non-conference tournament of their season, hosting the 2019 Duke Invitational Friday, March 1 – Sunday, March 3. The Blue Devils host Charleston Southern (4 p.m. ET) and Mississippi State (7 p.m.) to open the weekend on Friday before taking on Mississippi State and Kansas on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. Duke closes out the weekend against Ohio on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:30 p.m. All five games will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.
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