DURHAM, N.C. – In a historic day, the Duke softball program held its first competition, welcoming N.C. State to the Duke Softball Stadium. The Wolfpack came away an 8-3 winner in a scheduled 10-inning contest.
The Blue Devils kicked off the initial contest with opening remarks from head coach Marissa Young and a ceremonial first pitch by Duke University President Dr. Vincent Price. Duke, which held its first official full team practice September 16, announced it was adding softball December 16, 2013, with Young hired July 29, 2015. Ground was broken for Duke Softball Stadium on May 23, 2016.
“It was an incredible feeling to walk out here today,” Young said. “From going to having no place to practice to this stadium and this crowd, it was just a great day.”
“All of the hard work it’s taken to get here, the two years of work and to finally have it come together on game day was tremendous. I knew that the first full game and having a young team that there would be nerves we’d have to manage in a 10-inning game against a very good NC State team, but I am just proud of how this team came out, went all out and played a great first game.”
After going scoreless through three innings, the Blue Devils scored the first runs in program history and took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman shortstop Jameson Kavel registered the first run batted in by drawing a walk with the bases loaded, forcing home Rachel Abboud. Duke added a second run as junior Reilly Metzger was brought home on a wild pitch.
N.C. State responded in the top of the sixth with a game-tying two-run home run by junior Cheyenne Balzer.
The Wolfpack scored four runs in the top of the eighth for a 6-2 advantage. Balzer registered the contest-deciding RBI with a bases loaded hit by pitch. A bases loaded walk made it a 4-2 advantage while a fielder’s choice and another bases-loaded walk pushed in the final two runs of the frame.
Duke got a run back in the bottom of the eighth with the first home run in program history with Hannah Pridemore blasting a solo shot with two outs in the frame.
In the top of the ninth, N.C. State tacked on two more runs with an RBI single to right field by Lily Bishop and bases-loaded walk by Brittany Nimmo.
Duke 3B Kortney Dry (Cherokee Nation) had a team and game high eight assists in the game.