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Raine Wilson leads Duke softball to impressive series win at Notre Dame

<p>Raine Wilson had at least two hits in all three games of this weekend's series.</p>

Raine Wilson had at least two hits in all three games of this weekend's series.

With Duke's season sputtering, the Blue Devils made sure their struggles did not snowball with a key series win against one of the ACC's top teams.

Duke took down Notre Dame 5-2 Friday and 6-2 Saturday at Melissa Cook Stadium in South Bend, Ind., before losing the series finale 9-5 in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader with a chance at a sweep. Sophomore third baseman Raine Wilson had at least three hits in all three games, batting .500 in the series from the leadoff spot.

Both teams went scoreless for the first four innings in Friday's series opener before Wilson hit a two-run homer—her first of the season—to put the Blue Devils (23-22, 8-10 in the ACC) on the board. Duke piled on insurance runs with RBI hits from Amelia Wiercioch and Jill Ferraro in the sixth inning and an RBI groundout off the bat of Rachel Abboud that plated Wilson in the seventh.

With Wiercioch going for a complete-game shutout from the mound entering the seventh inning, the Fighting Irish (28-15, 11-6) finally broke through with a solo homer from Cait Brooks, and a double by the next batter chased Wiercioch from the game. Peyton St. George allowed another run-scoring double, but did not let Notre Dame do any more damage as she got the final two outs for the win.

The second game of the series was more of the same, as both offense remained quiet until Wilson drove in two runs with a double in the third inning. The next three batters all singled to score two more runs and put the Blue Devils in front 4-0, and Duke added two more runs in the fourth on a double by Haley Wymbs that scored Wilson and Dominique Salinas.

Katherine Huey and St. George pitched around several jams to preserve the Blue Devils' lead, as the Fighting Irish scored twice but left 11 runners on base when they threatened for more.

Notre Dame's offense finally got going in Saturday's series finale with the help of five Blue Devil errors, as only three of its nine runs were earned. The Fighting Irish's leadoff hitter reached on an error in three of their six innings of offense, making life difficult for Wiercioch and St. George on the mound.

Wiercioch did not make it through the second inning after giving up five runs, and St. George was more effective in finishing the game, but still surrendered a two-run homer in the fifth inning that doubled the Fighting Irish's lead from two to four. Four Duke players finished the game with at least two hits, but the Blue Devils left 12 runners on base—including at least one in every inning—squandering numerous opportunities to keep pace.

The Blue Devils will stay on the road for four games this week, starting with a midweek matchup Wednesday at N.C. State that will not be counted as a conference game before visiting Virginia Tech for a three-game set next weekend.


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