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Duke softball avoids sweep with Saturday shutout of Louisville

<p>Kortney Dry had two hits in Saturday's series finale.</p>

Kortney Dry had two hits in Saturday's series finale.

The Blue Devils continued ACC play this weekend with a tough series against Louisville. 

Due to changes in the weather in Durham, the series was shifted up for a doubleheader Friday, with the series finale Saturday. These last-minute changes put both teams on their toes. Louisville took the first game 5-3 and kept the ball rolling through the day, winning the second 5-0 at Duke Softball Stadium. Duke won a close 1-0 game Saturday, preventing a Louisville sweep. 

In game one, Raine Wilson, Amelia Wiercioch and Katherine Huey each had a run, but the Blue Devils had difficulty connecting with the ball, with eight hits in 30 at-bats. The game was tied coming out of the fourth inning but Duke was unable to slow the Louisville momentum and couldn’t get its own momentum rolling. 

On the mound, Huey and Peyton St. George had two and three strikeouts, respectively, but Wiercioch allowed all five earned runs. 

“It’s sometimes tough as a coach to figure out when to make a change,” head coach Marissa Young said. “That’s a really good thing because they all have their strengths and we know that when we make pitching changes, other teams have to adjust.” 

Huey pitched all seven innings of the second game of the day, and Louisville (22-9, 2-4 in the ACC) struggled to put any runs on the board until the top of the seventh inning, when it scored all five of its runs. The Blue Devils (17-14, 4-5) again struggled to connect with the ball, with only five hits in 27 at bats during the shutout. Duke's struggles on the offensive end allowed a strong Louisville team to convert on holes in the pitching game. 

The Blue Devils were able to turn it around on Saturday, taking home a 1-0 victory to end the weekend. While Duke again struggled at the plate, with the lone run coming from Jameson Kavel, Wiercioch and St. George combined to shut out Louisville on the defensive end. The Cardinals had only two hits all game.

“Today would have been easy for them to come out and just lay down, and I thought that they came out with a lot of fight. We had some tough innings that they had to work out of,” Young said. “Amelia did a really good job of keeping them at bay and Peyton came in and closed, which was outstanding for us.” 

The powerful stand on the pitching mound made all the difference, pulling out the win for the Blue Devils. 

“The team really got up for this game today.” Wiercioch said. “The two losses yesterday were pretty tough, but just had to keep up and we came together before the game and said we're not going to let them break out the brooms on us, so we really just came out to play.” 

The Blue Devils visit divisional foe Pittsburgh for a three-game series starting Friday.

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