Duke softball wallops South Carolina, 10-1, advances to Super Regional round

The partisan crowd at Duke Softball Stadium stomped on the bleachers, chanting “A-C-C, A-C-C” after center fielder D’Auna Jennings’ RBI single in the top of the seventh inning gave the Blue Devils and eight-run lead over SEC power South Carolina.

Just like the N.C. State men’s basketball team used the phrase “Why not us?” as its rallying cry through the postseason, the Blue Devils relied on theirs: “When, not if.”

South Carolina (36-24) held Duke scoreless in five of Sunday’s seven innings, but the Blue Devils’ ability to make adjustments and stay composed led them to a 10-1 win in the NCAA Durham Regional final Sunday. With its third victory in as many days, ACC champion Duke kept its national championship hopes alive.

The Blue Devils (50-6) will next play in a Super Regional against the winner of the Omaha-Missouri “if” game, with the location dependent on the opponent. If Omaha wins, Duke would be in line to host the Super Regional. If Missouri wins, the No. 7 Tigers would host tenth-seeded Duke.

Duke’s win Sunday did not come without drama. The team scored eight runs and sent 14 batters to the plate in the seventh inning. Meanwhile, five different plays went to review, including three consecutive fourth-inning reviews.

With Gisele Tapia standing on first after a fourth-inning leadoff base hit, umpires said shortstop Jada Baker grounded into a double play. That was reversed when Baker’s hit was ruled a foul ball.

When Baker reached on an error on the subsequent pitch, the officiating crew reviewed whether Tapia left the bag early. Review indicated she did not.

Finally, second baseman Francesca Frelick hit a two-run single. The Blue Devils coaching staff waved pinch runner Aleah Terrell home. She was ruled safe on the field, a call that was confirmed with yet another review.

Two additional reviews took place in the seventh. The first base umpire called Jennings out after the center fielder laid down a leadoff bunt. A quick review overturned the call on the field.

With her team ahead by five runs, left fielder Amiah Burgess launched a bases-clearing triple down the right field line. The call of a fair ball on the field was upheld.

Pitcher Cassidy Curd started in the circle after two days of rest. She threw 4.1 innings, gave up one run while striking out six batters.

Jala Wright entered the game in the fifth, earning the save. The senior struck out five batters, including the final out.

This story will be updated with quotes and postgame information.