DURHAM, N.C. – A six-run second inning, highlighted by a three-run bomb from Kristina Foreman, helped pace the Duke Blue Devils (20-22) to an 8-6 victory against the Radford Highlanders (18-22) Tuesday night at the Duke Softball Stadium.
A total of four hits and one Radford error helped secure Duke a 6-0 lead through two innings in its first of two home midweek contests. Marissa Gagliano, Deja Davis and Foreman drove in all six runs, as the trio finished a combined 6-for-11 with six RBI, four runs scored, two triples, one double and Foreman’s bomb.
After a Radford rally brought the visitors within two, a Foreman steal of home and Amelia Wiercioch’s second RBI of the season pushed Duke’s total runs to eight, which would be enough to secure the win in the first meeting in history between the two sides.
Jameson Kavel opened things up in the Blue Devils’ dominant second frame with a double to left. After Caroline Jacobsen reached via a full-count walk, Radford retired the next two batters, putting itself one out from escaping the jam. That’s when Duke went to work, as Gagliano laced a triple, her third of the season, to left center, scoring Kavel and Jacobsen. Davis followed in the next at-bat with a double to score Gagliano, advancing to third on a throwing error. A hit by pitch for Rachel Abboud would put two on, bringing up Foreman, who sent her fifth homer of the year off the scoreboard in left to break the game open at 6-0.
Radford immediately went to work chipping away at the lead in the next half inning, securing three runs on five hits to trim the Blue Devil advantage to 6-3. The Highlanders pulled one more back in the fourth with a leadoff home run to left center. Radford made one last rally after Duke’s two-run fifth, scoring two runs off two doubles in the sixth to pull within two and putting the first two batters of the seventh on board with back-to-back leadoff singles. That would bring Peyton St. George (1) out of the bullpen, as the righty struck out the final two batters to reel in her first save of the season and secure the Blue Devil victory.
The Blue Devils improved to 12-0 when scoring at least seven runs in a contest. Duke also turned in a total of 10 hits on the day, moving to 9-2 on the season when reaching double-digit hits. Davis picked up her second three-hit game and team-leading 11th multi-hit contest of the year. Gagliano’s two-hit performance marked her fifth game of the season with multiple knocks. Foreman’s three runs driven in give her a team-leading eight multi-RBI performances during the 2019 campaign.
Shelby Walters (5-10) picked up the start, going 4.0 innings and fanning four batters in the win. Wiercioch threw 2.1 innings of relief with three strikeouts before St. George downed the final two batters for the save.
Duke wraps up its season-long seven-game home stand on Wednesday, hosting Charlotte at 4 p.m. That matchup will be featured on ACC Network Extra, which fans can access through WatchESPN.com or the ESPN app.
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- The Blue Devils are now 1-0 against the Radford Highlanders and is now 7-6 this season when facing first-time opponents.
- With eight runs on the day, Duke improved to 12-0 this season when scoring at least seven.
- Duke recorded its 11th double-digit hit performance of the year on Tuesday, tallying 10 hits against Radford. The Blue Devils are now 9-2 when recording at least 10 hits in a game.
- Entering Tuesday’s game, the Blue Devils were tied for second in the ACC in triples. They picked up a pair of three-baggers thanks to Marissa Gagliano and Deja Davis, Duke’s second game this season with multiple triples (March 3 vs. Charleston Southern).
- Peyton St. George picked up her first save of the season and second of her career on Tuesday, striking out the final two batters of the win.
- After going 3-for-4, Davis now leads the team with 11 multi-hit games this season.
- Kristina Foreman belted her fifth home run of the season during Duke’s six-run second inning, tying Caroline Jacobsen for the team lead.
- Foreman’s three-run homer delivered her team-leading eighth multi-RBI game of the season.