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Duke softball to play UCLA in NCAA Super Regional. Here's what you need to know.

The Duke softball team
Duke Athletics
The Duke softball team celebrates the first NCAA Regional Championship in program history on Sunday, May 22, 2022 in Durham.

For the first time ever, Duke University’s softball team is headed to the Super Regional of the NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Devils hosted regionals this past weekend in Durham and beat UMBC, Liberty, and Georgia to advance. In their decisive Game Two victory over the Bulldogs, second basewoman Kristina Foreman had two hits, two runs scored and five RBI. Jala Wright pitched three perfect innings with four strikeouts to close out the game.

Duke will now travel to California, where it will face fifth-seeded UCLA on Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday if necessary. The winner of that series will advance to the Women’s College World Series.

Here’s everything you need to know about the road ahead for the Blue Devils.

  • Seed: 12th
  • Record: 44-9 (19-3, ACC)
  • Coach: Marissa Young (fifth season)
  • Top Hitter: Jameson Kavel (.387 average, 17 homeruns, 65 hits)
  • Top Pitcher: Peyton St. George (22 wins, 185 strikeouts, 2.01 ERA)

Fast Facts

Duke’s softball program is just five years old. Young – a former UNC assistant coach -- was hired to build the program in 2015, and the Blue Devils began playing in 2018. This season, they won the ACC’s regular season title and are one of three teams in the conference – along with Virginia Tech and Clemson – to advance to the Super Regional.

The Blue Devils beat Georgia in Game Two by a score of 13-5. That was after the Blue Devils trailed by a 5-1 margin. It was the first time this season Duke won when trailing after the fourth inning.

Kavel is the first Blue Devil to reach 250 hits in her career.

They Said It

“What I wanted for the program from day one was to be playing at the Women’s College World Series but I want it most for this senior group because they’ve been the ones here laying the foundation, putting in the work, and I want them to experience all of the enjoyment of playing at the highest level.”

— Duke head coach Marissa Young

“This is what we wanted. This is the best feeling ever. Being a part of this team, being with these girls, this is what we worked hard for all season. And we’re not done yet.”

— Duke sophomore pitcher Jala Wright

Scouting UCLA

The Bruins are among the blue bloods of collegiate softball. They’ve won 13 national championships, most recently in 2019, and have played in each of the last six Women’s College World Series.

UCLA is 46-8 this season and is winning behind its defense. The Bruins allow an average of just 1.4 runs per-game, which is second best in the nation. Senior pitcher Magan Faraimo is one of the nation’s top pitchers, racking up 260 strikeouts, which is among the top 20 in the country.

Duke will need its bats to come alive if it wants to upset UCLA. The good news is that the Blue Devils have an affinity for hitting the long ball, as they’ve launched 95 homeruns this season – an average of 1.86 per-game, which is sixth-best in the country.

Game One of the series will air live on ESPN2 on Friday at 11 p.m. EST. Saturday’s Game Two will also air on ESPN2, at 8:30 p.m. EST.

Mitchell Northam is a Digital Producer for WUNC. His past work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, SB Nation, the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press. He is a graduate of Salisbury University and is also a voter in the AP Top 25 poll for women's college basketball.
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