Duke Blanks Liberty and reaches regional title game on Sunday

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DURHAM- Already Davis was 2 for 4 with a home run and two runs, while Peyton St. George kicked off another complete shutout to lead 12-seeded Duke to a 5-0 victory over Liberty in the semifinals of the NCAA Durham Regional Tournament on Saturday at Duke Softball Stadium.

The victory puts Duke (43-8) in the regional championship for the second consecutive year and the Blue Devils will play Sunday at 2 p.m. against Georgia, one victory away from qualifying for the Super Regional next week. Liberty (44-17) suffers its first loss of the double elimination tournament.

St. George, who was unmarked in two Durham Regional games, whipped up five in their full seven innings to move to 22-3 on the season. The Mechanicsville, Va. grad student was boosted by three early runs and worked herself into Liberty traffic in the final innings to extend her shutout streak to 14 innings.

“A great game today, I’m as proud of my team today as I’ve been all year with their resilience and adjustments,” the head coach said. Marissa Young. “When they’re not having a good day they don’t let it carry over into the next game and I don’t think we were at our best offensively yesterday. Seeing them come out and make the adjustments they needed to make to score points and for Peyton [St. George] to bounce back and kick off another complete, dominating match, I couldn’t be prouder.”

Duke surged early, quickly taking a 2-0 lead in second thanks to Francesca Frelick RBI single who led Kristina Foreman and an error that allowed Caroline Jacobson score from third. Davis made it 3-0 in the third after starting the inning with a double into the left-field spread, moved to second on a sack bunt and scored on Foreman’s sack volley from deep at right which almost left the court.

Consecutive solo home runs in the fourth inning of Jameson Kavel and Davis made it 5-0 and capped the Blue Devils’ score.

After eliminating Georgia on Friday, the Flames didn’t sit still on Saturday and charged with one out in the sixth on singles from Devyn Howard, Kara Canetto and Lou Allan. St. George was up to the task, placing a shallow ball through the center for the second out and fanning Alexis Soto to end the threat.

“At times like these, you have to love the game and love the pressure,” St. George said. “Coaches do a really good job of recreating that in training so when you come into the game it’s ‘let’s keep calm and don’t make the moment bigger than it is, and have fun. just “. We’re not going to change anything about what we’ve been doing for the whole game. So it’s just enjoying the moment, knowing that’s why you love the game and these situations so much. Getting out of it is just being able to celebrate with the people around you.”

Davis, Jacobsen and Frelick each had two of Duke’s seven hits, while the Blue Devils played error-free behind St. George for the second straight game.

Emily Kirby lasted just one inning in the circle for Liberty, allowing two hits and two runs to absorb the loss (14-6). Raigan Bachman had two of the Flames’ six hits.

Tickets are available for Sunday’s Durham Regional Final and can be purchased from GoDuke.com.

To stay up to date with Blue Devils softball, follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook by searching “https://goduke.com/news/2022/5/21/DukeSOFTBALL”.

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