DURHAM, N.C. – The Virginia softball team (6-12, 2-10 ACC) dropped both games of a doubleheader to No. 13 Duke (18-1, 7-1 ACC) on Saturday (March 14), falling 5-1 in a game highlighted by pitching and defense before falling 10-9 in extra innings in game two.

Junior Clare Zureich (Cary, N.C.) took the loss in her start in game one, while junior Aly Rayle (Herndon, Va.) suffered the loss in relief in game two.

Virginia got home runs from four different players in game two of the day with senior Kate Covington (McLean, Va.), junior Tori Gilbert (Mechanicsville, Va.), and sophomores Donna Friedman (Orange, Calif.) Katie Goldberg (Atlanta, Ga.) all hitting balls out of the park. Friedman also drove in the lone run in game one.

GAME ONE: No. 13 Duke 5, Virginia 1
Zureich (0-2) suffered the loss in the start in game one, allowing one run on two hits in 3.1 innings of work. She walked two and struck out one in her time in the circle. Zureich left the game with no score, but a runner on second in the fourth inning that would go on to score.

Shelby Walters (7-0) took the victory for Duke, allowing the one run on three hits with no walks and two strikeouts in her complete-game effort.

The Blue Devils got a two-RBI triple in the fourth inning to get on the board. Duke loaded the bases in the fifth inning with no outs before using a walk and a fielding error at third to push three runs home and take the lead out to 5-0.

The Cavaliers got a run back in the sixth inning with an RBI double from Friedman, scoring Bailey Winscott (Clinton, Miss.) from second. Virginia would get nothing more, however, as Duke closed things out down the stretch to take the win.

GAME TWO: No. 13 Duke 10, Virginia 9 (9 Innings)
Rayle (0-1) suffered the loss in game two, working 2.2 innings in relief and allowing the one run on the solo shot from Caroline Jacobsen in the ninth. Rayle recorded one strikeout and one walk in her time in the circle in game two.

Peyton St. George (8-0) picked up the win in relief as she allowed one hit and struck out four in 2.0 scoreless innings.

The Cavaliers struck first in game two, plating three runs on home runs from Gilbert and Covington in the first. Gilbert hit a solo shot before Covington delivered a two-run home run.

Duke got a single run back in the home half of the inning, but the Cavaliers again used the long ball to extend the lead in the second. Goldberg delivered a two-run home run of her own before Friedman would hit a solo shot to take the lead to 6-1 in favor of Virginia.

The flow of the game would go back and forth from there with the Blue Devils pushing three runs home in the third before Virginia would add single runs in the fourth and the fifth. Duke would again plate two runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to 8-6, but Virginia would again respond with a single run in the sixth.

Duke pushed two runs home in the bottom of the sixth before tying things up in the seventh with a home run to send the game into extra innings. The Blue Devils then delivered the walk-off home run in the ninth to sweep the doubleheader.

• The quartet of Covington, Friedman, Gilbert and Goldberg combined for four home runs on seven hits with eight RBI between them on the day. They also scored five of the Cavaliers’ 10 runs.
• Friedman has now hit safely in eight of the last nine games and has an RBI in four consecutive games.
• Aly Rayle appeared in both games on the day, working in relief for a combined 4.2 innings in the doubleheader.

“I am proud of the grit and fight our team showed today. We have had a couple of tough losses late in games and the team continues to fight every pitch. We are growing and learning from every opportunity we have to play and I have no doubt we will get better from today. The beauty of softball season is we have to have a short-term memory. We get another chance tomorrow.”

Virginia and Duke will close out the series in a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday (March 14) on ACCNX.