CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Despite putting up impressive showings in both games, the Duke Blue Devils (12-9, 0-3 ACC) dropped both games of Saturday’s doubleheader at North Carolina (11-13, 3-0 ACC) to wrap up opening weekend of conference play.
UNC was able to fend off rallies in both contests, capitalizing in the late innings to pull away and finish off the weekend with a pair of wins. UNC used a run in the sixth and solid defense to fend off Duke in game one, 7-5, before scoring four runs in the sixth frame of the final game to pull away and win, 7-2.
The Blue Devils took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning of the day’s first contest thanks to the first of two Raine Wilson home runs. Wilson would launch an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right for her first-career homer to push Duke out in front, followed by a single to center from Hannah Pridemore before the Tar Heels turned a double play to avoid any more damage.
Duke would work around a two-out single in the second to keep UNC off the board, but the Tar Heels were able to break through in the third thanks to a Duke error, a walk and a hit by pitch that led to a two-RBI single.
That lead would not last long as Duke was able to get the run back in the fourth with an RBI single from Wilson. However, the Tar Heels quickly swung momentum back in their favor thanks to a four-run fourth, sparked by a two-run homer to center. After the leadoff batter reached on a Blue Devil fielding error, the homer would clear the bases, followed by two singles and a double that brought home another pair of runs to make it 6-2 in favor of the home team.
Jameson Kavel and Jazmine Moreno drove in runs in the fifth to get two runs back for the Blue Devils, cutting the lead to two. Wilson would then trim the Tar Heel lead to one in the sixth with her second bomb, a solo shot that made her the first in Blue Devil softball history to record a multi-home run contest. The home team would be able to fend off the Duke rally in the end, as an RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth gave UNC all it needed to close out game one with a 7-5 victory.
North Carolina flipped the script in game three of the weekend, jumping out in front early behind a solo home run to right center in the second. After scoreless frames on both sides in the third and fourth, UNC tacked on two more in the fifth. Duke would load the bases in the sixth and bring home two runs, one off a hit by pitch and another on an RBI single from Brianna Butler to cut the lead to one.
However, the Tar Heels used a monster sixth, plating four runs to cut off Duke’s momentum and take the final game of the weekend, 7-2.
Wilson paced Duke in game one of the day, going 3-for-3 at the plate for her second three-hit performance this season. Moreno also turned in a multi-hit showing, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run batted in. The series finale saw Kavel and Reilly Metzger turn in multi-hit showings, the team-leading seventh for Kavel and second of the year for Metzger.
Katherine Huey (7-4) earned the start in game one, giving up only two earned runs and striking out one. Butler closed out the contest with 3.0 innings of work, striking out two and only surrendering one earned run. Amelia Wiercioch (3-3) started the series finale, going 4.2 innings with a pair of strikeouts.
Duke will return to action with a trio of midweek contests, first at Charlotte Tuesday, March 13 at 3:30 p.m. ET before a Wednesday, March 14 doubleheader at Charleston, which is set to begin at 5 p.m. Duke will then return home to host Boston College in its first home ACC action in program history. The series begins Friday, March 16 at 5 p.m. and will conclude with 1 p.m. first pitches on both Saturday, March 17 and Sunday, March 18.
For more information on Duke softball, follow the Blue Devils on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching for “DukeSoftball”. You can also find all-access coverage of all Duke athletic programs on SnapChat by searching for “dukeathletics”.
2018 Duke Softball Program Firsts...
Game: Feb. 8, 2018 vs. FAU (Game 1)
Win (Team): Feb. 8, 2018 vs. FAU (Game 1), 4-3
Win (Individual): Katherine Huey vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
At-Bat: Jameson Kavel vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Pitch: Amelia Wiercioch vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Baserunner: Jameson Kavel (Walked, 1st Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Hit: Amelia Wiercioch (Double, 1st Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Single: Rachel Abboud (3rd Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Double: Amelia Wiercioch (1st Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Walk: Jameson Kavel (1st Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Hit By Pitch: Ashleigh Rodriguez (7th Inning) vs. FAU (Game 2), Feb. 8, 2018
Run Batted In: Amelia Wiercioch (1st Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Sacrifice Hit: Jazmine Moreno (SAC Bunt, 1st Inning) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Sacrifice Fly: Rachel Abboud (5th Inning) vs. FAU (Game 2), Feb. 8, 2018
Strikeout: Amelia Wiercioch (Strikeout Looking) vs. FAU (Game 1), Feb. 8, 2018
Stolen Base: Dominique Salinas (2nd Inning) vs. FAU (Game 2), Feb. 8, 2018
Complete Game: Katherine Huey vs. Michigan State, Feb. 9, 2018
Shutout: Katherine Huey vs. Michigan State, Feb. 9, 2018
Complete Game Shutout: Katherine Huey vs. Michigan State, Feb. 9, 2018
Extra Innings Game: Feb. 10, 2018 vs. Boston University (L, 7-4 )
Home Run: Katherine Huey (2-Run, 4th Inning) vs. Penn State, Feb. 16, 2018
Save: Amelia Wiercioch vs. Penn State, Feb. 16, 2018
Comeback Win: Feb. 16, 2018 vs. Penn State (Trailed 5-0 in T3, won 7-5)
Triple: Jameson Kavel (6th Inning) vs. Purdue, Feb. 16, 2018
One-Hitter: Amelia Wiercioch vs. Purdue, Feb. 16, 2018
Winning Streak: 5 Games (Feb. 16 vs. Penn State - Feb. 23 vs. Morgan State)
National POTW Honor: Katherine Huey (espnW), Feb. 21, 2018
Extra-Innings Win: March 2, 2018 vs. Yale (W, 4-3 )
Grand Slam: Amelia Wiercioch (4th Inning) vs. Lehigh, March 3, 2018
Run-Rule Victory: March 4, 2018 vs. Kent State (W, 8-0 )
ACC Contest: March 9, 2018 at North Carolina (L, 2-1 )
Multi-Home Run Game: Raine Wilson at North Carolina (Game 1), March 10, 2018