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Laila Alves stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter with two outs in the bottom of the fourth against Duke pitcher Peyton St. George, who got ahead in the count early with a first-pitch strike. Alves quickly struck out on a high fastball on the fourth pitch of the at-bat. It was the second time in two at-bats that Alves struck out against St. George.
As Alves retreated to the Syracuse dugout, St. George walked toward Duke’s dugout. Her day was over after retiring the Orange batters, but she had pitched three other scoreless innings against Syracuse, which also couldn’t score on her in seven innings of work on Friday.
Led by another strong outing from St. George, Duke (36-7, 16-3 Atlantic Coast) rebounded from a 1-0 loss yesterday to beat Syracuse (21-20, 4-15 ACC) 6-0. For the second game in three days, the 2021 ACC Tournament MVP blanked the Orange, allowing just three singles and a walk over four innings.
In 11 innings against Syracuse, St. George didn’t allow a single run while working around seven hits and four walks. Only four different Syracuse players got hits against her. She struck out 13 batters and allowed only three baserunners to reach third base. In three games against Duke, who holds the second-best ERA in the ACC, Syracuse managed just 10 hits and one run.
“St. George threw more of an upspin, the last girl that came in had a curve upspin and the other girl yesterday she threw a lot of downballs so I think our hitters adjusted well yesterday,” Ariana Adams said after the game.
For the second straight game against St. George, Angel Jasso led off the game with a single, lofting an 0-2 pitch just over third baseman Gisele Tapia and into the shallow outfield. Jasso went 3-6 against St. George between the two games and recorded Syracuse’s only extra base hit against St. George, a double on Friday. Although Jasso stole second and reached third on a wild pitch, Tessa Galipeau and Kelly Breen went down on strikes while Neli Casares-Maher grounded out to St. George to end the threat.
To start the second inning, St. George took control again by getting Geana Torres to fly out and striking out Jude Padilla. With two outs, Rebecca Clyde hit a line drive up the middle for the Orange’s first hit of the day and her first since Syracuse’s win over Hofstra on March 18. But with Carli Campbell facing a full count, Clyde left first base too early and was called out to end the inning.
Campbell led off the third inning by battling back against St. George and beating the throw on an infield single, her second hit in as many games against the Duke pitcher. But after two sacrifice bunts moved Campbell to third and Galipeau worked a walk, St. George struck out Casares-Maher — who had gone 24 consecutive at-bats without a strikeout — on three pitches to end the inning.
The following frame, St. George pitched a 1-2-3 inning to retire the Orange on just nine pitches. After setting single-season program records for total and called strikeouts a year ago, St. George struck out at least five batters for the fourth time in five games.
Syracuse struggled to get good contact on St. George’s pitches and grounded out softly in several plate appearances.
After facing one of the best pitchers (and pitching staffs) in the nation, Syracuse faces the ACC’s worst pitching staff in North Carolina for the Orange’s final conference series of the year on May 6. North Carolina’s team ERA of 5.27 is the highest in the ACC and is more than double Duke’s.
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