After four all-around dominant performances, No. 5 Duke softball sweeps FIU Invitational

Junior Ana Gold leads off second base against NDSU.
Junior Ana Gold leads off second base against NDSU.

Although the FIU Invitational ended with a rained-out Sunday game, nothing clouded No. 5 Duke’s performance this weekend. The Blue Devils made it look easy, ending the tournament with a 4-0 record.

“We were really excited to be able to come down here. This was a special trip for us — to try to take our seniors to their hometown. And, you know, obviously, we played well,” head coach Marissa Young said.

Being back home definitely added a kick to Floridian seniors Kelly Torres and Claire Davidson’s play this weekend. On Friday, Duke was up against Rutgers; although the Scarlet Knights opened scoring with a solo home run by graduate Katie Wingert, the Blue Devils (8-1) answered in the top of the fifth with a homer of their own by Torres. 

“Really excited to see Kelly Torres perform so well in front of her hometown and all of her family. That was really a bright spot,” Young said.

Senior Jala Wright's pitching helped keep Rutgers at bay for the rest of the game: She struck out six and allowed only three hits. Then, after three Duke runs in the seventh inning — which included a double off of freshman Amiah Burgess’ bat — the team secured a 4-1 victory. 

“Just super proud of the way that she's stepped up as a contributor to this team offensively...” Young said of Burgess. “She’s a threat. She can bunt, she’s got speed, she can hit for power.”

That night, the team grabbed another win against host FIU, finishing 6-0. The usual suspects led the team’s effort. In the first inning, junior Ana Gold put a run on the scoreboard with an RBI double. Sophomore Aminah Vega grabbed two RBIs of her own. The Blue Devils’ fielding was at a high, with senior Francesca Frelick, graduate student Gisele Tapia and Torres all bringing in six put outs each.

The weekend beatdown only grew from there. Duke took on Army in a doubleheader Saturday, finishing both games 8-0. Once again, Gold did not back down — the Ballston Spa, N.Y., native scored five runs out of Duke’s grand total of 16. At bat, Davidson led the team in her home state with four RBIs in the first game, and Vega led with three in the second. In the circle, sophomore Sophie Garner-MacKinnon and graduate transfer Dani Drogemuller let in only four combined hits in the doubleheader. 

“Our pitchers continue to really dominate against our opponents,” Young said. “We have a lot of depth. Really great to see no matter who's on the mound that, you know, we have the opportunity to win and shut other teams out.”

When Vega sent the ball flying over the center field fence, Duke’s final game of the tournament came to an end at the sixth inning — the team’s eighth consecutive win of the season.

Next weekend, Duke will host Villanova, Boston University, Michigan State and Elon for an invitational at home.


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