CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Down by two in the final frame, the Duke Blue Devils (13-18, 4-4 ACC) had their rally fall just short as the Virginia Cavaliers (16-12, 5-3 ACC) evened the series with a 2-1 victory Saturday afternoon at The Park.
A two-run home run in the first would be all the Cavaliers needed to secure the Saturday victory. After a leadoff single on the second pitch, UVA sent a blast over the wall in right center to grab its first lead of the weekend, 2-0.
The Blue Devils would get runners on in four of the next five frames, including putting runners at second and third with one out in the sixth. However, the Cavaliers would use a pair of line outs to escape the jam and keep the visitors scoreless.
Duke would not be denied any longer when the seventh inning came up, pushing its first run across the plate for the day to cut the lead to one. After Marissa Gagliano singled one off the pitcher, extending her hitting streak to six-straight games, Reilly Metzger followed up with a hit by pitch that gave Duke two baserunners with no outs. Brianna Butler delivered the Blue Devils’ first run on the sixth pitch of her at-bat, blasting a double to right that scored Gagliano to cut UVA’s lead down to 2-1.
With runners on second and third and no outs, the Blue Devils looked poised to even the contest at the least, but Virginia was able to hold strong defensively. After a groundout on the next at-bat, the Cavaliers made a play at the plate to keep their lead intact. From there, Amelia Wiercioch would step in to pinch hit, but would foul out to third base to even the series at a game apiece.
Duke totaled eight hits for the game, led by Deja Davis’ team-high seventh multi-hit contest of the year. Davis would also record her 17th stolen base of the season, setting the program single-season record just 31 games into the season. Peyton St. George (2-4) earned the start for the Blue Devils, with Wiercioch following with 5.2 innings of relief, tossing three strikeouts and scattering five hits with no runs allowed.
The two sides return on Sunday, March 24 for the series rubber match. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra, which fans can access through WatchESPN.com or the ESPN app.
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