DURHAM, N.C. – Fast starts and dominant defense in both games were the difference on Saturday, as the Duke Blue Devils (19-21, 8-6 ACC) dropped a series-opening doubleheader to the 24th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies (32-5, 12-2 ACC) at the Duke Softball Stadium.
Despite holding the Hokies to their fewest runs scored since March 17, the Blue Devils could not overcome a fast start by the visitors in game one, falling in a 3-0 decision. Tech would use a fast start to take control early again in game two, eventually capturing the series with a 6-0 victory.
The two sides will meet for the series finale on Sunday, with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. ET. That contest will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra, which fans can access through WatchESPN.com or the ESPN app.
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No. 24 Virginia Tech 3, Duke 0 (Game One)
A three-run first inning was the difference in the series opener, as Virginia Tech took the first game of the weekend, 3-0. Despite the loss, the Blue Devils held the Hokies to their lowest offensive output since a 1-0 win at NC State on March 17. This was just the fourth time this season that Tech has been held to three or fewer runs.
A total of four hits helped drive in VT’s three runs in the first. Peyton St. George made her first appearance of the day with two outs and two on in the first, eventually landing her first of seven strikeouts to end the frame. From there, St. George allowed only four runners to reach base for the remainder of the contest, tossing 6.1 innings and scattering two hits while walking a pair.
Duke would put a runner on in each of the first three innings to no avail. The fifth saw the Blue Devils load the bases with two down thanks to a Jameson Kavel leadoff single, Jazmine Moreno walk and Marissa Gagliano hit by pitch. However, a groundout ended the threat and kept Tech’s lead intact. Duke would pick up two more hits over the final two innings, but could not close the gap as the visitors held on for the win.
The Blue Devils finished with five hits on the day behind a 3-for-3 showing from Kavel, her fourth three-plus hit showing of the year. Gagliano and Kristina Foreman also tallied base hits for Duke.
Amelia Wiercioch (3-5) earned the start in game one, striking out one and walking another.
No. 24 Virginia Tech 6, Duke 0 (Game Two)
Virginia Tech used one run in the first and three more in the second to shut down the Blue Devils and capture the series with a 6-0 win in the final contest of Saturday’s twin bill.
A total of three hits, two coming with two outs, helped drive home the game’s first run and give VT an early 1-0 lead. Four more hits in the next frame led to three runs crossing home plate, as a solo home run and two-run double gave the visitors a 4-0 advantage through two.
Duke once again managed to get a runner on in each of the first three innings, but were unable to push anyone home. The Blue Devils created their best chance in the seventh, when a Kyla Morris infield single pushed Raine Wilson into scoring position at second after the junior reached on a hit by pitch to lead off the frame. However, a pop up closed down the threat and sealed the Tech win.
The Hokies added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the final inning thanks to three hits and a sacrifice fly, putting the final score at 6-0.
Brianna Butler (6-3) got the starting nod in game two, going 1.2 innings and striking out one. St. George came in for 5.1 innings of relief work, striking out three and walking just one batter. On the offensive side, the Blue Devils accumulated four base hits from four different players.
- The Blue Devils held the No. 24 Hokies to just three runs in the series opener, the fewest runs scored by Virginia Tech since a 1-0 win at NC State on March 17.
- Duke’s defensive efforts in the first game marked just the fourth time this season that Tech has been held to three or fewer runs in a contest.
- Jameson Kavel put together a 3-for-3 showing at the plate, marking her ninth multi-hit game of the season and team-high fourth performance with three or more hits.
- Before Tech’s two runs in the top of the seventh of game two, Peyton St. George had held opponents scoreless for 15.1 consecutive innings, the longest such streak in school history.