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'Built together': Duke softball secures 100th program victory in 4-game sweep of Syracuse

The team gave head coach Marissa Young a classic Gatorade shower after securing the 100th win in program history Saturday.
The team gave head coach Marissa Young a classic Gatorade shower after securing the 100th win in program history Saturday.

Duke softball continues to set program records, with no sign of relenting.

The 19th-ranked Blue Devils extended their team-record winning streak to 18 this past weekend in a four-game sweep of Syracuse, reaching and surpassing the 100-win milestone as a program in the process.

After a 5-3 win Friday and 11-0 rout in the first game of the Saturday double-header secured Duke’s 98th and 99th wins, respectively, consistent pitching and red-hot offense led the Blue Devils to the 7-3 milestone victory later Saturday afternoon. For the entirety of the program’s four-year history, a few things have been constant, including head coach Marissa Young. Hence, she was the victim of a classic Gatorade shower during the postgame huddle. 

"It's about every single one of those kids who chose Duke and have put in the work as well as all of the administration and support staff that have been along for the ride to make it happen,” Young said. “I love my players, staff and what we've all built together at Duke. I'm just lucky to be at the forefront of it."

Pitching once again took center stage for the Blue Devils (24-1, 12-1 in the ACC). In the 11-0 win against Syracuse (6-9, 2-6), senior ace Peyton St. George gave up only one hit before the game was called after five innings due to run rule. St. George came close to tossing Duke’s second no-hitter of the season if not for a pinch-hit, one-out single in the last Orange frame. Additionally, junior outfielder Caroline Jacobsen blasted two home runs in the second half of Saturday’s double-header to take the all-time program lead in the category, surpassing the injured Raine Wilson.

The series finale 8-2 win Sunday showcased many of the Blue Devils’ abilities, from pitching to baserunning to a plethora of capable hitting off of the bench. Junior pitcher Shelby Waters earned her ninth win of the season, giving up two unearned runs over five innings. The team also made an emphasis on advancing baserunners, especially with runners on first and third. 

“We've always been aggressive on bases, and this weekend, we had a lot of opportunities to do so... maximize production is our goal,” senior outfielder Jameson Kavel said.

Kavel was another standout over the weekend, going 6-for-12 in the series to extend her hitting streak to eight games.

“It feels pretty good just to know that things are clicking for me [and] for our team at the right time,” Kavel said. “I think it’s good if we're going into really good ACC competition the next few weeks, just for all of us to be at the top of our game.”

Young also brought in pinch hitters strategically, with freshman Francesca Frelick taking the place of small-ball hitter Kendyl Lange Sunday and whacking a clutch second-inning double into the gap to give the Blue Devils the lead for good.

“I think that our offense has shown we can score runs in so many different ways, which is going to be important when you face some really quality pitchers,” Young said. 

One thing Duke struggled with all weekend, however, was defense. The Blue Devils allowed an uncharacteristic nine errors over the series, though Young did say that weather prevented the team from holding its routine fielding practices in preparation of the series.

Nevertheless, fielding struggles appeared to be enough to convince Young to pull the team’s hitting leader Deja Davis from the field Sunday after an error on a grounder allowed the first Syracuse run to cross. Davis remained in the game as a designated player but was replaced at shortstop.

The Blue Devils take on No. 22 Clemson this upcoming weekend. The Tigers, in the midst of just their second season as a program, are one of Duke’s top in-conference foes and also looking to continue an impressive start to the year.

Micah Hurewitz

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


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