An age-old rivalry met for the first time in a new sport Friday night—a contest that also marked the beginning of ACC play for a young Duke team. 

Despite another weekend of firsts for the Blue Devils, they couldn’t maintain their nonconference momentum, allowing North Carolina to sweep the series at Anderson Stadium. In a Friday contest that saw seven Blue Devils suspended, the archrivals kept the game tight, with North Carolina eventually pulling ahead in extra innings to beat Duke 2-1.

Of the seven players suspended for Friday’s game, four were usual starters that played both games of the doubleheader the following day, and two were pitchers.

Amelia Wiercioch pitched the whole game for the Blue Devils, giving up only 7 hits and one earned run, which came as the winning run in the ninth inning.

Both teams played a strong defensive game through the first four frames, with neither squad scoring. Rachel Abboud gave the Blue Devils a chance in the fourth with a double, one of her two hits on the night, but North Carolina shut down the threat. 

Then, in the fifth inning, Hannah Pridemore scored the first run of the game with a home run to left field—the first of her career. The Tar Heels answered with a run of their own off of a Duke error to tie it up in the sixth. The game remained tied until the Tar Heels had a leadoff triple and a sacrifice fly in the ninth to ultimately beat the Blue Devils 2-1.

Duke (12-9, 0-3 in the ACC) looked to start off Saturday on a different foot, with its whole team back and a long day ahead with a doubleheader against the school down the road.

Although this seemed to become a reality when Raine Wilson helped the Blue Devils take an early 1-0 lead with her first career home run in the second inning, the Tar Heels answered with two runs of their own in the second. While Duke was able to tie it up in the top of the fourth with an RBI single by Wilson, it was not able to keep up with the Tar Heels defensively this time around. North Carolina scored four runs in the fourth inning, including a two-run homer to center. 

The Blue Devils were not able to fully come back from North Carolina’s big fourth inning. Although Jameson Kavel and Jazmine Moreno both notched RBIs and Wilson had another home run in the sixth, the Tar Heels scored one more to beat the Blue Devils. 

This second game of the series was riddled with errors and missed opportunities for Duke, with four of North Carolina’s seven runs being unearned.

Wilson held the spotlight for the first game, with her two home runs—the second being a solo shot—making her the first player in program history to have multiple home runs in a game. But she struggled more in the second game, as did the whole Blue Devil squad, with no hits or runs and one RBI. Butler added the other run batted in on the game, with an RBI single.

North Carolina (11-13, 3-0) held Duke to no runs through the first five innings of the series finale, while it racked up three. A solo home run in the second inning sparked the momentum that carried the Tar Heels through the rest of the game, as they totaled seven runs just as they had done earlier that afternoon.

North Carolina had another inning that devastated the Blue Devils—this time coming later on in the game. The sixth inning saw four runs that clinched the game for the Tar Heels, putting them up 7-2 with one inning remaining.

Despite their loss to their tobacco road rival, the Blue Devils saw promising performances from Kavel and Reilly Metzger, who both had multiple hits in the series finale, making Kavel the team leader for multi-hit contests with seven.

Duke saw its pitchers give up the most runs in this final contest, with Wiercioch, Huey and Peyton St. George all allowing two runs each. North Carolina showed consistency in its main pitcher, Brittany Pickett, who pitched the first two games in their entirety and two innings in the final game.

The Blue Devils have a full week of play ahead of them, one in which they will play six games in six days. The week will start at Charlotte Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., followed by a quick turnaround to Charleston for a doubleheader against the College of Charleston Wednesday. The Blue Devils will then return home for another ACC series over the weekend.