Duke Blue Devils News Roundup: Softball to CWS, baseball wins ACC, more

In today's Duke Blue Devils news roundup, we look at a triumphant weekend for Duke sports including a trip to the College World Series for the softball program.
Notre Dame v Duke
Notre Dame v Duke / Andy Mead/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Here is your Duke sports news roundup for May 27, 2024.

Duke softball advances to first College World Series in program history

This weekend, the Duke softball program made history by reaching the College World Series for the first time in program history. Taking a three-game set at Missouri two games to one, the Blue Devils are headed to Oklahoma City where they will be joined by Alabama, UCLA, Oklahoma, Texas, Stanford, Oklahoma State, and Florida

Friday, Duke opened the Super Regional round at Missouri in impressive fashion. Securing a 6-3 win, Duke set the tone for the weekend.

With the game knotted at 3-3 in the fifth inning, Duke's Aminah Vega doubled home Claire Davidson from first base for the game-winning run. Gisele Tapia then reached on an infield single allowing pinch-runner Aleyah Terrell to score. In the seventh, D'Auna Jennings scampered home for an important insurance run to set the final margin.

Saturday say Missouri responded with a 3-1 win to even the series. Three singles and a Duke error led to all of the Tigers' runs for the day in the fourth inning. Meanwhile, Duke could muster only a single run in the fifth inning, a solo homer by Francesca Frelick.

Sunday's winner-take-all contest required two extra innings. In fact, the game was scoreless through eight frames. In the top of the ninth, Duke struck for four critical runs including a lead-off homer by Jennings and a clutch RBI triple by Amiah Burgess. Ana Gold and Kelly Torres would also drive in runs in the inning but the work was not over.

A Missouri three-run homer cut the Duke lead to just one run with only one out in the bottom of the ninth. However, Lillie Walker was able to shut the door and send Duke to Oklahoma City. The star of the day, though, was starting pitcher Cassidy Curd who allowed only two runs in 8.1 innings of work.

"Wow. This is what postseason softball is all about – just a dogfight," said head coach Marissa Young. "Kudos to Missouri, they put up so much fight all weekend and are such great competitors. Super proud of our girls for continuing to fight with their backs against the wall. Cassidy Curd came out and threw a heck of a gem and I knew it was just a matter of time until our offense was able to score some runs for her and open things up. D'Auna [Jennings] coming up big, getting us started with her second ever home run, great timing for it. We're making history here and we're excited to take this team to Oklahoma City."

Duke now heads to the College World Series where they open against the No. 2 seeded Oklahoma Sooners. That game will be on May 30 at 2:30 pm on ESPN.

Duke baseball wins ACC Tournament

It was also a big weekend for the Duke baseball team. Capturing the ACC Tournament crown, the Blue Devils head into the NCAA Tournament with an automatic bid and some serious momentum.

Thanks to a dominant 16-4 win over Florida State in Sunday's championship game, the Blue Devils won the ACC Tournament for only the second time in program history. In all, Duke swept through the event going 4-0 and outscoring its opponents 43-15 overall.

In the title game, James Tallon made his first career start on the mound. After allowing the Seminoles to bash a two-run homer in the first, he settled down to get through three innings.

Fortunately, the Duke bats stayed hot and the Blue Devils answered with five runs in the top of the second inning. They would also plate four more in the fourth, five more in the sixth, and two in the seventh while holding FSU to just two runs over the final eight innings of action.

If there was any bad news from Sunday, it is that the Blue Devils were not selected to host a regional in the NCAA Tournament. That honor went to Arizona, Arkansas, Clemson, East Carolina, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, NC State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UC Santa Barbara and Virginia.

Duke will now await Monday's selection show to find out where it will begin the NCAA Tournament. The full bracket will be released on Monday at noon.

NCAA and power conferences agree to settle lawsuit allowing players to be paid

As expected, the NCAA and its power conferences have officially reached a settlement to allow schools to directly compensate players while also paying back pay to former NCAA athletes.

The damages in the case are estimated to come in at around $2.8 billion. Most of that will be paid to current and former athletes.

It goes without saying that this is a monumental shift in the college sports landscape. It will be fascinating to see how this settlement changes the face of NCAA athletics as we know it.