No. 5 Duke softball shows out in Duke Invitational, outscoring opponents 59-7 through 5 wins

Junior Ana Gold swings in Duke's Sunday win against Villanova.
Junior Ana Gold swings in Duke's Sunday win against Villanova.

Don’t mess with the Blue Devils, especially at home. 

Something about playing on its home diamond set Duke alight. The fifth-ranked Blue Devils established firm dominance at home in the Duke Invitational this weekend, sweeping the competition as they extended their now-13-game win streak. 

“They bought into what we're asking of them,” said head coach Marissa Young of her team. “Really just being patient, patient but aggressive at the same time at the plate has been a key.”

Friday against Villanova, Duke (13-1) showed the first signs of how lethal it would be to its opponents over the course of the weekend. Though the first two innings of the game went scoreless for both teams, the Blue Devils scored once in the third inning and stacked up seven runs in the fourth to end the night early for the Wildcats. 

Junior Ana Gold continued her stellar start to the season, acting as the centerpiece of the team. She hit a home run and brought two of her teammates home to close out Duke’s fifth (as of that point) run-rule win of the season. The Ballston Spa, N.Y., native currently leads her team both in runs and in home runs. 

“She's electric, both on defense and at the plate, obviously, a lot of power,” said Young. “We're always just looking for not if but when it's going to be that from her.”

Scoring runs seemingly came easy not just to Gold but to all the Duke batters this weekend, especially in their Saturday night contest against Michigan State.

The Blue Devils were aggressive right out of the gates, opening up the game with four hits and four runs in the opening frame. The second inning only brought more scoring as graduate student Gisele Tapia hit one over the right field fence for a grand slam, bringing the run total to eight. 

But the third inning is where Duke really went off. Senior Francesca Frelick clocked another grand slam — the first in her career — for the home team. Shortly after, Gold launched another of her six home runs on the season, bringing home two more runners and adding to what would eventually be a 22-0 win for Duke.

The Blue Devils would shut out another opponent before the weekend closed out. Against Elon Sunday afternoon, they scored seven in the first inning alone, led by Frelick with three of Duke’s 14 total runs.

Senior Jala Wright’s pitching also helped propel Duke to its multiple victories. She tied the Blue Devils’ single-game second-place record for strikeouts with 14 against Michigan State. Wright wasn’t the only Duke pitcher to silence her opponents. All five of Duke’s rostered pitchers got a chance to take the mound over the course of the four games, with only five errors between them. 

“Our pitchers are all very unique. And so we know we work to find the best matchup against our opponent,” said Young. The matchups certainly worked in Duke’s favor as it held opponents to seven runs in total while running away with 59 of its own. 

Though it’s early in the season, opponents already expect to face a high-powered offense; the Blue Devils have  logged five games in double digits in just 14 showings. Duke will get its first test of the ACC in a three-day home series against Syracuse next weekend. 


Share and discuss “No. 5 Duke softball shows out in Duke Invitational, outscoring opponents 59-7 through 5 wins” on social media.