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ChronSports' Top 10 of 2020 — No. 7: Duke softball upsets fourth-ranked Texas en route to historic 3rd season

Senior Raine Wilson announced over the summer that she will be returning to Duke for one more season thanks to the NCAA's extra eligibility ruling.
Senior Raine Wilson announced over the summer that she will be returning to Duke for one more season thanks to the NCAA's extra eligibility ruling.

As 2020 comes to a close, The Chronicle's sports department takes a look back at the biggest stories of the year in Duke athletics. Each day, we will review a major game, event or storyline that helped shape the course of the year for the Blue Devils. Check out the rest of the top 10 here.

Coming in at No. 7: Duke softball upsets fourth-ranked Texas en route to a historic third season as a program.

The young Duke softball program came into the 2020 season ready to play. After finishing its first two seasons with a combined 54-58 record, the players who were freshmen and sophomores at the program’s inception were now the experienced leaders of the team.

Just a few short weeks into the season, the Blue Devils traveled to Austin, Tex., for the Texas Invitational, a multi-team event culminating with a marquee matchup against No. 4 Texas. Though Duke fell to Lipscomb in its first game in Austin, it swiftly rebounded by smothering Weber State via mercy rule later that evening. After a shutout win against North Dakota State the next day, the Blue Devils boasted an 11-2 record heading into their meeting with the undefeated Longhorns.

The nightcap of the Texas Invitational did not disappoint. 

Texas starter Miranda Elish calmed the hot Duke bats the first time through the order, while Blue Devil pitcher Peyton St. George ran into a little trouble in the bottom of the third inning, allowing two runners in scoring position before retiring the side. 

In a game-changing sequence in the top of the fourth, Duke senior Raine Wilson led off with a double and advanced to third on a dropped third strike. On the very next pitch, sophomore Caroline Jacobsen singled in the only run of the game. Duke would fail to notch a hit for the rest of the contest, but its defense behind St. George did just enough to prevent disaster multiple times throughout the game, including escaping a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth.

The play of the night came one inning later, however: the game-ending pickoff of a Texas baserunner trying to steal second. Redshirt junior catcher Jazmine Moreno threw a dime to freshman Gisele Tapia across the diamond, clinching the Blue Devils’ first-ever win against a ranked team and sending the Duke players into a frenzy on the Longhorns’ home field. 

Texas later took down the top two teams in the country en route to a 24-3 record before the season was cut short. Duke, after several years of developing the program, finished its season 23-4 and were ranked in a major poll for the first time ever when the final ESPN/USA Softball poll of the season placed the Blue Devils at No. 25.

Of course, COVID-19 wiped out most of the ACC schedule, but Duke head coach Marissa Young hopes to use her program’s historic start to the 2020 campaign as a springboard for the program entering the 2021 season. 

READ MORE on Duke softball’s breakout season:

'Our best season yet': Duke softball reflects on historic third year

Duke softball takes down No. 4 Texas for first ranked win in program history

All bats are off: Duke softball continues torrid start


Micah Hurewitz | Sports Managing Editor

Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity junior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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