No. 11 Virginia Tech Softball Drops Game 1 At No. 5 Duke

Emma Ritter and Virginia Tech dropped their first game on Thursday at Duke. (Jon Fleming)

No. 11 Virginia Tech softball dropped its first ACC game of the year in a 14-5 loss to No. 5 Duke.

“We got beat by the better team tonight,” Virginia Tech head coach Pete D’Amour said. “It looked like we came out tight from the start and did some uncharacteristic things early and never really recovered.”

The Blue Devils (27-3, 7-2 ACC) poured on runs from the start, notching eight across the first two innings. Freshman starting pitcher Emma Mazzarone allowed a career-high seven runs, while Cassie Grizzard — who relieved her — allowed six.

Neither Mazzarone nor Grizzard had played much against top-10 opponents. Emma Lemley — who threw the second inning and allowed a run — was Tech’s only arm who had significant experience against a lineup like Duke’s.

Tech (25-6-1, 9-1 ACC) found a burst of offense in the third inning when it trailed 8-0. Third baseman Bre Peck hit an RBI double to give the Hokies some life, then right fielder Cori McMillan hit a three-run homer — one of two on Thursday.

But that burst was nowhere near enough. Duke designated player Claire Davidson, second baseman Aminah Vega and shortstop Jada Baker each had three RBI. All four of the Blue Devils’ leadoff batters reached base. They hit 8-for-18 with runners on base, including 7-for-17 with runners in scoring position.

Cassidy Curd and Lillie Walker split the game in the circle for Duke. Curd, a sophomore who qualified for the 2023 All-ACC First Team and D1Softball’s All-America Freshman Team, allowed four runs in 2 ⅔ innings. Walker finished the last 2 ⅓ frames, allowing one run.

The Hokies found most of their offense from McMillan, who had four RBI. Both of her two hits were homers, sparking Tech’s offense when it needed some.

“I just knew if I put too much pressure on myself, I would swing too hard and it wouldn’t produce what I wanted,” McMillan said. “I was just relaxing in the box.”

Tech will play Duke in the second game of its three-game set — with a chance to even the series — on Friday at 6 p.m.

“We need to relax,” McMillan said. “I think we tried too hard to sweep them in just one game and put too much pressure on ourselves.”

Box Score: Duke 14, Virginia Tech 5 

4 Responses You are logged in as Test

    1. “You learn most from your losses.”

      Has anyone ever said this after a ‘win’? Yeah – this is a Captain Obvious response to losing. 🙂

  1. Lots of ball to play and D’Amour will do his best to keep them in first place.

    Good write-up, Sam!

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