ELON, N.C. – A three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh was the difference Wednesday night, as the Duke Blue Devils (9-12) dropped a 5-4 walk-off decision to the Elon Phoenix (11-6-1) at the Hunt Softball Park.
The Phoenix plated the game’s final three runs on three hits and two walks. A two-RBI double down the right field line evened the game at 4-4 before a single up the middle scored the game-winning run.
Duke was anchored by the top half of its lineup throughout the game, which recorded five hits on the night with three runs scored, two RBI, two doubles, a home run and one stolen base. Leading that crew was Jameson Kavel, who racked up two doubles to increase her team lead to eight on the year.
After a total of 15 pitches made up a quiet opening inning, the Blue Devils struck first behind one of Caroline Jacobsen’s two RBI. Reilly Metzger got things started with a single to center, then moved to second on a sac bunt. Jacobsen took the 10th pitch of her at-bat to center, pushing Metzger home to make it 1-0. That lead however would not last long, as Elon used a solo home run and an RBI double to take a 2-1 lead through two frames.
The Blue Devils returned the favor in the next half inning, starting with a solo blast from Rachel Abboud to level things at 2-2. The homer is Abboud’s first of the year and third of her career. After a bunt single and stolen base from Deja Davis, her team-leading 13th of the season, Kavel brought her home with a double down the left field line to make it 3-2 Duke.
Duke added another run in the top of the sixth, as Marissa Gagliano scored Jacobsen with a double over the head of the left fielder to up its lead to 4-2. Brianna Butler entered in the bottom of the second to relieve Amelia Wiercioch, keeping the Phoenix scoreless for the next four innings. She finished with 5.0 innings of work, allowing no runs and no hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Peyton St. George (1-3) and Wiercioch closed out the game for the Blue Devils.
Along with Kavel, Jacobsen also tallied a two-hit performance, while tacking on an RBI and a pair of stolen bases, the first two of her career. Gagliano added in a hit with her RBI double in the sixth, while Abboud, Davis and Metzger rounded out Duke’s offensive effort with a hit each.
The Blue Devils’ defense continued its strong stretch over the last week, as it has not committed an error in a program-record five-straight games.
Next up for Duke is its 2019 ACC opener, as it welcomes rival North Carolina to the Duke Softball Stadium this weekend. The series kicks off Friday, March 8 at 5 p.m. ET, with the Saturday and Sunday contests both slated for 1 p.m. starts. All three contests will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.
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”.
Need To Know
- Reilly Metzger is now 6-for-14 in the last five games with six runs driven in, three runs scored and no strikeouts.
- With her RBI in the first, Caroline Jacobsen has now driven in 10 runs this season, which is tied with Rachel Abboud for the team lead.
- Abboud hit her first home run of the season and third of her career with a solo shot to right center in the top of the third.
- With her second multi-double performance of the year, Jameson Kavel now has a team-leading eight doubles this season.
- After throwing five scoreless innings, Brianna Butler has not allowed a run in 8.1 consecutive innings.
- The Blue Devil defense has not committed an error in five-straight games, a program record.