The #13 Duke Blue Devils (19-1, 8-1 ACC) swept the Virginia Cavaliers softball team (6-13, 2-11 ACC) in Durham over the weekend. The Blue Devils have now won an impressive 13 games in a row to make themselves a conference and national contender.
In a defensive battle, the Blue Devils won the series opener 3-1 in a game that featured six total hits. Mikayla Houge had a nice outing for the Cavaliers, where she gave up only two earned runs on four hits in 5.2 innings of work. However, Peyton St. George was absolutely dominant for Duke. She pitched a complete game, allowing just two hits with ten strikeouts. UVA’s two hits came in the fourth inning when Katie Goldberg doubled and Donna Friedman singled to score the game’s only run. These two players anchor the top of the lineup and have the highest batting averages on the team.
In the second game, Duke knocked off the Hoos by a score of 5-1. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when Duke scored 2 runs on Caroline Jacobsen’s two RBI triple. The Blue Devils added to their lead in the 5th with three more runs, taking advantage of three walks and a fielding error by the Cavaliers. UVA’s one run came via a Donna Friedman double in the top of the 6th inning. The combined six walks by the Cavalier pitchers proved costly in this contest.
Game three was a heartbreaker for the Cavaliers, as Duke won in walkoff fashion in 9 innings, 10-9. UVA jumped out to a 6-1 lead by scoring three runs each in the first two innings. In the first, both Tori Gilbert and Kate Covington homered, and in the second, both Katie Goldberg and Donna Friedman homered, giving each of the top four hitters in the lineup home runs in the first two innings. However, Duke answered with three runs in the bottom of the third. The back and forth affair continued with the Hoos scoring in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, and Duke responding in the fifth and sixth with runs of their own.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Hoos couldn’t hold on to a 9-8 lead, as Kristina Foreman hit a lead off homer for the Blue Devils to send the game into extra innings. Foreman finished 3-5 in the game with 3 runs and 4 RBI, and was a single short of the cycle. Two innings later, Caroline Jacobsen delivered the final blow, hitting a walkoff home run to propel Duke to victory in extra innings. Both teams used four different pitchers in the game, and it was a disappointing loss for the Hoos after such a close game.
Duke completed the series sweep on Sunday afternoon, winning the fourth game 8-2. Peyton St. George earned her third win of the series after pitching her second complete game, striking out seven and allowing five hits. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils piled on four home runs and ten total hits.
UVA is currently on an eight game losing streak, but both series were against ranked opponents (Clemson is now ranked #25). The Hoos will look to bounce back at Palmer Park next weekend in a four-game series against the N.C. State Wolfpack.