DURHAM, N.C. – It was all about the late innings on Saturday for the Duke Blue Devils, as they earned a pair of victories to clinch the series against the Pitt Panthers at the Duke Softball Stadium.
The Blue Devils (12-14, 3-2 ACC) took down the Panthers (3-21, 0-5 ACC) in walk-off fashion to start the day, picking up a 4-3 win in a nine-inning contest that was suspended in the top of the seventh on Friday due to inclement weather. After the thriller to start the day, Duke dominated the second game of the day to take the series, defeating Pitt in an 8-0 decision in six innings.
Duke and Pitt wrap up the series on Sunday with a 12 p.m. ET contest, which will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra. Fans can access the broadcast through WatchESPN.com or the ESPN app.
Duke 4, Pitt 3  (Game 1)
Picking up the game in the top of the seventh and down by one after it was suspended on Friday due to lightning, the Blue Devils put together some late-game heroics to secure their second walk-off win of the season. An RBI double to left from Rachel Abboud drove home Reilly Metzger to give Duke a 4-3 win against the Panthers in nine frames, its second walk-off victory of the season.
Pitt made the first move when the game got underway on Friday afternoon, plating a run in the second off a sacrifice fly to right. The Panthers escalated their lead to 3-0 in the top of the fifth thanks to a two-RBI single.
Duke responded in the home half of the fifth thanks to Brianna Butler, who took a break from dominating in the circle to crush the first home run of her career, a two-run shot over the wall in center. Pitt would keep its 3-2 lead intact heading into the final frame before lightning halted the contest for the remainder of the day.
Play resumed at 1 p.m., on Saturday, with Butler reeling off a groundout and a fly out to bring the Blue Devils to the plate. From there, a throwing error, wild pitch and groundout would place Raine Wilson on third, setting up a sacrifice fly from Caroline Jacobsen to tie things up at 3-3.
The final blow would come in the bottom of the ninth, as singles from Metzger and Butler set up Abboud’s walk-off double to left, giving Duke a 4-3 win.
Duke tallied seven total hits in the win, paced by Butler’s 3-for-4 showing that featured two RBI and a run scored. Butler (5-1) also tossed her second-straight complete game, going the full 9.0 innings with four strikeouts and only three runs allowed on eight hits.
Duke 8, Pitt 0  (Game 2)
A six-run sixth delivered the Blue Devils their first ACC series win of the season, as they defeated the Panthers, 8-0, in six innings.
Wilson’s second home run of the season got the ball rolling in the game’s final frame, as she sent a bomb over the wall in left to make it 3-0 for Duke. A single, two walks, a foul out and a groundout loaded the bases with two away for the Blue Devils. From there, Duke would draw three walks to make it 6-0 before Wilson stepped back up to the plate for the second time in the inning to deliver a two-RBI single to center to end the game.
Duke opened the scoring thanks to the bat of rookie Kristina Foreman, who smoked one to right field for her second triple of the season, scoring Jameson Kavel and Deja Davis to make it 2-0 through three frames. Shelby Walters (4-7), who entered in the second inning, shut down the Panthers to set up the monster sixth for the Blue Devils. Walters capped her day with 4.2 innings of work, striking out five batters and allowing just one hit with no runs or walks. Butler earned the start, putting in 1.1 innings of work before giving way to the freshman.
Wilson was the leader of a Duke offense that produced eight hits, with four of those going for extra bases. The right fielder went 3-for-4 at the plate with three runs driven in and one of her own scored. With her two-RBI triple in the third and bases-loaded walk in the sixth, Foreman finished the day with three runs batted in to move her team-high season total to 14. She now has five multi-RBI contests this year, a team high.
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Extra Base Hits
- Duke’s game one win was its second walk-off victory of the season, with the other coming on March 2 against Kansas, also a ninth-inning finish.
- The run-rule victory in game two is the second of the season for Duke (Feb. 19 vs. NC Central, 8-0 ). It is also the fourth overall run-rule win in program history and second in ACC play (April 28, 2018 vs. Virginia, 9-1 ).
- The Blue Devils’ game one victory marks the first time in program history they have won when entering the final inning trailing (1-30).
- Saturday’s two wins even the overall series between Duke and Pitt at 2-2.
- This is Duke’s first series win against the Panthers in program history.
- With the two wins, the Blue Devils won their first ACC series of 2019 and fifth overall in school history.
- Duke is now 6-0 this season when scoring at least seven runs.
- Duke’s six-run sixth inning is the highest-scoring inning of the season for the Blue Devils and the highest since dropping six runs in the first inning on April 28, 2018 against Virginia.
- With home runs in both games, Duke has hit homers in back-to-back contests for the first time this season and fifth time in history.
- The Blue Devils are now 7-3 against teams from the state of Pennsylvania, the most wins against a state in school history.
- Deja Davis and Rachel Abboud both extended their career-high reached-base safely streaks on Saturday. Davis has reached safely in nine-straight contests, while has reached in 13-straight games.
- With her stolen base in the third, Davis now has 15 on the year, one shy of tying the Duke single-season record set last year by Kavel.
- Brianna Butler set a career-high with three hits in game one, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and the first home run of her career, a two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth.
- Kristina Foreman has now driven home a team-high 14 runs, putting her fifth in school history. She also paces the team with five multi-RBI contests this season.
- In the first at-bat of her collegiate career, Shelby Walters delivered a double to left center in the bottom of the second inning.
- Raine Wilson tallied the fourth three-hit game of her career in the day’s second win, going 3-for-4 at the plate. She drove in three runs, highlighted by a solo homer in the sixth, her second of the season. She now has eight for her career, which is the most in Duke softball history.