Duke softball season ends with loss to Alabama in WCWS :: WRALSportsFan.com

Duke softball season ends with loss to Alabama in WCWS :: WRALSportsFan.com

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kayla Beaver’s dreams came true on Friday night.

The graduate student threw 3 2/3 innings of perfect relief, Marlie Giles knocked in two runs, and No. 14 seed Alabama defeated No. 10 Duke 2-1 in an elimination game at the Women’s College World Series.

Beaver is a transfer from Central Arkansas who was playing her first World Series game. She stepped in for Jocelyn Briski and earned the win a day after throwing six innings in a loss to UCLA.

“It means everything,” Beaver said. “Wearing the A, it’s a dream. Being here makes it even better. Everything that I wanted to happen coming in this year, having one year to do it — there was a lot I wanted to get done in a year. We’ve done it all. There’s one more thing left.”

Giles’ performance supported Beaver’s effort.

“She saw the ball as big as a basketball tonight,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said of Giles. “It was perfect timing. We had a runner on, she hits the double. The next time she hits a home run. Two RBIs, one person. That’s all Beaver needed.”

Alabama (39-19) will play the loser of Saturday’s game between No. 1 Texas and No. 4 Florida on Sunday in an elimination game.

Duke (52-9) made history. Coach Marissa Young became the first Black head coach to lead a team to the World Series, according to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and Duke.

It also was the Blue Devils’ first trip to the World Series.

“I’m sure it won’t hit us until we get back home to Durham, step on the field and see the Women’s College World Series logo on the outside wall,” Young said.

Duke’s Cassidy Curd gave up one earned run on four hits in the loss.

Giles hit an RBI double in the first to open the scoring. Duke answered in the second with a solo homer by Ana Gold.

Alabama’s Kali Heivilin appeared to have a solo homer in the third, but Duke’s Amiah Burgess got her glove over the top of the fence to make the grab.

Giles hit a solo homer in the sixth to put Alabama up 2-1.

Duke couldn’t muster any offense against Beaver in the sixth or seventh to extend the game. Still, the mood after the game was celebratory.

“I mean, our goal for this year was to make it to the World Series,” Gold, a junior, said. “I think especially for this senior class, they’re so deserving of it. They have led our team so well. Ever since I stepped on campus, they have been there for me every step of the way. I’m so happy we could do it for them their last year. They deserve it so much.”


AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports

Source: wralsportsfan.com