The Walk-Off: No. 5 Duke finds a way against Boston in a day Mid-Majors rise to the occasion

Courtesy of Duke Athletics

Throughout the country, Mid-Majors put the pressure on ranked opponents on Saturday. A few rose to the occasion, while others walked away upset.

Kelly Torres plays hero for No. 5 Duke in comeback win over Boston

Kelly Torres has started over 100 games in her career for Duke. She has been a glue player behind the plate for the rising program. The senior might be saving her best for last this season. Torres, off to a torrid this season, lifted her team when they needed her most.

The Blue Devils didn’t have much success against Boston’s Kasey Ricard. Duke finally started to find success against the righty with a pair of back-to-back singles in the bottom of the sixth. Torres wasted no time to put her team ahead. She took the first pitch of the at-bat, lining it off the top of the right field wall, mere inches away from a home run. The tying and go-ahead run scored, Torres scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2, the eventual final score.

This game showed how strong both Duke and Boston are this season. The Blue Devils have plenty of star power, but the best teams have players step in at any moment throughout the season. That’s how you make it to the Women’s College World Series. Ashley Waters’ club looks very strong and possibly the best Mid-Major this season. Ricard is the real deal. The offense finds ways to score. 

No. 3 Georgia earns the split against No. 24 Virginia Tech

Whatever Tony Baldwin told Jayda Kearney, it worked. Kearney had quickly fallen behind 0-2 against Emma Mazzarone. The All-American had struck out in her past four at-bats, needed to get bat on ball to give her team a run in the third. She did more than that. Kearney blasted a three-run bomb after spoiling a good pitch from Mazzarone to put the Bulldogs back on top.

Virginia Tech answered back to tie the game but the Georgia lineup could be leashed for so long. The Hokies decided to go to Lyndsey Grein and she ran into trouble in the fifth. A single, walk and a wild pitch put runners at second and third for Lyndi Rae Davis in the same situation as Kearney. She made Grein pay for a mistake over the heart of the plate for her own three-run home run to put Georgia up for good. 

Georgia is very good. Virginia Tech is really good. The Bulldogs have quality pitching and one of the most explosive lineups. However, the offense needs better at-bats the first time through the order because it has put pressure on its pitching staff. Virginia Tech feels a lot like Georgia at times between the pitching depth and home run rate. It’s not shocking the Hokies continue to play well. 

Softball around America

Texas Tech 7, Minnesota 6
Texas Tech 8, North Texas 7

The Red Raiders found themselves down 6-0 entering the bottom of the six. Their lone hit to that point off of Jacie Hambrick was a bunt single. But hitting is contagious. The first three batters of the inning reached before Riley Love drove in a pair. Texas Tech rallied four more hits to tie the game. Love then hit a two-out triple in the seventh and scored the winning run on an error.

I guess the plan was to fall behind 6-0 on Saturday. The Red Raiders were behind North Texas by six after two innings in the second part of their doubleheader. Love helped get the comeback going again with a homer in the fifth. Then she doubled in two runs to tie the game in the sixth. Kailey Wyckoff proceeded to give her team the lead two batters later in the 8-6 win.

South Alabama 5, No. 20 South Carolina 2 

One of our games to watch this week lived up to the hype. The Jaguars manufactured a pair of runs early against Alana Vawter but the Gamecocks answered with two of their own. In the sixth, an error and a couple of infield singles loaded the bases against Vawter and Sage Mardjetko. The freshman walked in the go-ahead run and nine-hole hitter Marley Sims hit a two-run double to extend the lead to three. South Alabama turned to ace Olivia Lackie in the fourth and she was perfect. Lackie retired every batter she faced in 3.1 innings, picking up five strikeouts.

South Carolina should be fine. Vawter didn’t get hit around. She allowed one extra-base hit in the eight hits she allowed. The Gamecock offense is what it is and faced one of the best pitchers in the country in Lackie. The ball didn’t roll South Carolina’s way against a team that can very well make the NCAA tournament. 

No. 10 Stanford 8, Louisiana 0

The Ragin’ Cajuns’ start to the season didn’t get any better in Austin. Louisiana dropped a second game to Stanford. Regan Krause threw six scoreless innings in the run-rule victory. River Mahler and Allie Clements each drove in two runs. Ava Gall homered again for the Cardinal.

Northern Iowa 4, No. 24 Auburn 2

The Panthers only had two hits against Maddie Penta, but made them count. They took advantage of multiple Auburn errors in the fourth to en route to a three-run frame. Alexis Pupillo, who had both hits against Penta, homered in the sixth. The Tigers finally got to UNI starter Anna Wischnowski in the sixth, but limited the damage to two. Wischnowski ended the first complete game of her collegiate career with two strikeouts.

It’s tough to swallow that Penta has great outings time and time again without much help from her offense or defense. 

No. 16 Florida State 5, Nicholls 4

After the Seminoles battled to tie things in the fifth, Gabby Higbee just homered off Allison Royalty to give Nicholls the lead back in the seventh. It didn’t hold. Jaysoni Beachum reached on an error to open the bottom of the seventh. When you give Florida State an inch, they’ll take a mile. Pinch runner Annie Potter stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Hallie Wacaser doubled her in and Michaela Edenfield ended the game with an RBI single.

No. 9 Clemson 3, UConn 2

When Jana Sanden doubled off of Valerie Cagle in the sixth to give the Huskies the lead, it felt like the Tigers were in trouble. Those are the moments Clemson’s superhero always comes through. The reigning National Player of the Year wasn’t going down without a fight. Clemson loaded the bases in the seventh against the crafty lefty Meghan O’Neil. She went toe-to-toe with Cagle, the result was a win for Cagle. She fouled off pitch after pitch, ending the 11-pitch at-bat with the game-tying sacrifice fly.

If Cagle is the hero in this story, Lindsey Garcia is a pretty good sidekick. Garcia led off the seventh with a single and later scored. Then she delivered the walk-off in the eighth to avoid the upset.

Kansas 1, Texas A&M 0

Live your life the way Kasey Hamilton did against the Aggies. The senior earned her first win of the season by shutting out the dangerous and hot Texas A&M lineup. The Aggies left eight runners on, going Hamilton got Julia Cottrill and Allie Enright to fly out in key moments. Olivia Bruno rewarded her pitcher with a solo shot in the seventh to provide the run support she needed.

Arizona 10, Indiana 9 F/14

Two games for the price of one! This marathon in Tucson finally ended on a Jasmine Perezchica infield single. Indiana’s Alex Cooper found her first hit of the game in the 14th, giving the Hoosiers a two-run lead. The Wildcats answered back with two of their own with the tying run coming on a sacrifice fly. Though Taylor Minnick made a toss home in time, Avery Parker was called for obstruction and the run counted. Emily Schepp created the mess as her two-out single in the seventh sent things to extras.

Not to get into an obstruction conversation. By the rule, it was obstruction, but don’t know what Parker is supposed to do on what was a good throw. 

No. 22 Baylor 5, UCLA 3
No. 22 Baylor 5, No. 8 Missouri 4

Frustrated might be an understatement for the Bears through the first five innings against Taylor Tinsley. At one point, Baylor had nine hits but had struck out 10 times and didn’t have a run. Things did break Baylor’s way as Maya Brady committed two errors, including a misfire to home trying to get a force out that allowed the first two runs to score. Emily Hott doubled to push the lead to two and spoil Tinsley’s outing.

We are watching Tinsley grow up quickly. She’s been masterful and the arm that threw well against Texas on opening weekend. 

The Bears did something that no team has this season, score more than three runs against Missouri. Baylor fell behind early again, this time by four. Baylor scored a pair in fourth leading to Cierra Harrison’s exit. Laurin Krings came into the game and didn’t have her best stuff. Sydney Collazos homered to pull the Bears within one. Freshman Leah Cran just got enough of one to drive in the tying run in the sixth. Krings walked Shaylon Govan and Missouri went to closer Taylor Pannell. She allowed a single to Collazos to put runners at the corners. Kaci West bounced one up the middle that Jenna Laird couldn’t get to as Baylor walked it off.

No. 14 Arkansas 7, Illinois State 0
No. 14 Arkansas 15, Wichita State 4 

Robyn Herron continues to evolve into Arkansas’ ace. She dealt 11 strikeouts on her way to Arkansas’ second-ever perfect game.

In the second leg of the doubleheader, Arkansas had 15 runs instead of 15 strikeouts against Wichita State. In the Razorbacks’ 13-run fourth inning, they went through the entire order after the first out was recorded. Cylie Halvorson ended the game with four RBIs.

No. 20 Florida 8, Lafayette 0

The Florida offense got going after a slow start – and proceeded to score 21 runs the next game against Colgate – the Gators scored seven in the final two innings. The story was about Olivia Miller, who three weeks into her career, threw her second perfect game for Florida.

No. 1 Oklahoma 7, San Diego State 0

Kierston Deal reminded us how talented she is. The lefty shutout a Mac Barbara-less Aztec lineup Saturday, allowing three hits and striking out six. Tiare Jennings homered and drove in four runs. She is starting to heat up, having an RBI in the last six games.


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