DURHAM, N.C. – An impressive complete game performance from Brianna Butler capped the weekend for the Duke Blue Devils (10-14, 1-2 ACC), as they split the final day of the series against the North Carolina Tar Heels (11-9, 2-1 ACC) on Saturday.
UNC opened the day by clinching the series with an 8-1 victory before Duke closed out the weekend with a 2-1 win behind Butler’s showing in the circle.
North Carolina 8, Duke 1 (Game 1)
A three-run second inning gave the Tar Heels all they needed in Saturday’s first game, as they went on to capture the series with an 8-1 win against the Blue Devils. The visitors added another run in the fourth and four more in the final frame to seal the victory.
After both sides went down in order in the first, UNC used three hits and a pair of Blue Devil errors to plate three runs. Duke’s third and final error of the day would help score another for the Tar Heels in the fourth, as they took a 4-0 advantage.
Duke finally broke through in the home half of the fourth, tallying its first three hits of the game to pull within three, 4-1. Rachel Abboud opened the inning with a single to left, then moving to second on a wild pitch. Deja Davis added on with a bunt single before stealing second, her 15th of the season, pulling her within one of tying the program record set by Jameson Kavel.
Raine Wilson singled through the left side three batters later to push Abboud across home plate, earning her seventh RBI of the campaign.
The Blue Devils put runners in scoring position in all three of the final frames, but could not cut more into the lead, as UNC held on for the win.
Jazmine Moreno led the way for Duke’s offense, going 2-for-3 at the plate with her third double of the weekend. Wilson, Kavel, Davis and Abboud all tallied singles for the Blue Devils, as the team finished with six hits for the contest. Shelby Walters (3-7) earned the start, going 6.1 innings and tossing three strikeouts. Amelia Wiercioch pitched the final two outs, striking out one batter.
Duke 2, North Carolina 1 (Game 2
A two-run single in the first from Kristina Foreman coupled with an impressive performance from Butler in the circle highlighted a 2-1 Duke victory against North Carolina to cap the weekend. The win is the first for the Blue Devils in program history against the Tar Heels.
For the second time in as many games, Abboud kick started Duke’s first scoring inning as she was hit by pitch on the opening throw. Davis laid down a sac bunt on the next at-bat, with both Abboud and herself safely reaching base to set up Foreman’s two-RBI single to left.
Down 2-0, the Tar Heels would get one back in the next half inning with a solo shot to center, making the Duke lead 2-1. However, Butler would hunker down for the final six innings and shut down the Tar Heels to secure Duke’s first win in series history. UNC would threaten in the fifth and sixth to no avail before Butler used her final two K’s of the game to pick up her fourth win of the season.
Along with Foreman’s first-inning base hit, Davis, Reilly Metzger and Caroline Jacobsen all earned singles for the game. With four hits to UNC’s three, Duke is now 8-2 this season when out-hitting its opponent.
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Need To Know
- Duke’s win in the series finale is the first in program history against the Tar Heels.
- The Blue Devils improved to 8-1 this season when leading after five innings and 9-1 when ahead after six.
- Duke’s game three victory was its second this year when scoring two or fewer runs (2-12).
- With her hits in both games, Deja Davis is riding a five-game hitting streak and seven-game reached base safely streak, both career highs.
- Rachel Abboud has now reached base safely in 11-straight games, tying her career high.
- With her double in the first game of the day, Jameson Kavel has a team-high nine on the year, tying her total from last year.