CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A four-run first inning was all the Duke Blue Devils (13-17, 4-3 ACC) needed Friday, as they cruised to a 7-2 series-opening win against the Virginia Cavaliers (15-12, 4-3 ACC) in Charlottesville, Va.
Duke used two hits and a trio of UVA errors to jump out of the gates early. A walk to Rachel Abboud and a single from Deja Davis set the table for the game’s first run, as a throwing error on a sac bunt from Jameson Kavel gave Duke a 1-0 advantage. A groundout from Raine Wilson made it a 2-0 lead, with a second error on the Cavaliers pushing the lead to 3-0 on an at-bat from Caroline Jacobsen. The lead grew to 4-0 on a single up the middle from Brianna Butler, which led to a fielding error on the left fielder that allowed Jacobsen to score.
The Blue Devils added another run in the fourth on an RBI single from Abboud. Marissa Gagliano got the inning started with a one-out single, then moved to third via a stolen base and a passed ball. Abboud then took the fourth pitch she saw to center to up the lead to 5-0.
Virginia would pull two runs back in the home half thanks to three hits. Peyton St. George would enter the contest after the second run came home and slammed the door on UVA with a pair of groundouts to limit the damage.
Jacobsen tacked on an insurance run in the sixth with her third home run of the season, sending one off the foul pole in left to make it a 6-2 lead. UVA looked to claw back into the game in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff single, but St. George racked up a pair of strikeouts to end the frame. From there, Duke added one more to the scoreboard as Reilly Metzger roped a triple to right field, scoring Kavel to make it 7-2. From there, St. George shut down the game with a strikeout, pop up and groundout, securing Duke’s second-straight ACC series-opening win.
Duke finished the day with six hits from six different players. Abboud extended her reached base safely streak to a career-high 17-straight games, while Davis pushed hers to 13 straight. Davis also has now hit safely in four-straight contests, while Gagliano upped her hitting streak to five-straight games, a season high.
St. George (2-3) picked up the win behind 3.2 innings of work, striking out three while holding UVA scoreless on one hit. Butler earned the start, going 3.1 innings with a strikeout and a pair of walks.
The two sides return for the second game of the series on Saturday, with first pitch set for 1 p.m. ET. The series finale on Sunday will begin at 12 p.m., and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra, which fans can access through WatchESPN.com or the ESPN app.
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