A week after playing in the Citrus Classic in Florida, the Boston University softball team took a trip to the West Coast to compete in the Wildcat Invitational in Tucson, Ariz. After only taking one game in the humid conditions of Florida, the Terriers (3-7) fared slightly better in the dry heat of Arizona as they were victorious in two of their five games in the tournament.
In the opening game, BU took on Portland State University. The Terriers, aided by a late-inning scoring barrage, took the first game over Portland State (5-15) by a score of 8-3.
The Terriers sent senior pitcher Whitney Tuthill to the mound to try and stop the four-game losing skid. Tuthill went the distance, going seven innings, allowing three runs and eight hits, and striking out three in her second victory of the season.
Portland State designated hitter Candice Orozco drilled a solo homer, giving the Vikings an early 1-0 lead in the second. BU answered the next inning with two runs, courtesy of an RBI triple from junior catcher Jayme Mask and a run-scoring groundout from junior shortstop Brittany Clendenny.
The teams went blow-for-blow after this, and they were all tied going into the sixth, when the Terriers eventually grabbed a slim 4-3 lead on an RBI double from senior second baseman Emily Roesch.
BU added insurance in the seventh, scoring four times, with the help of two Portland errors. Mask recorded her third RBI of the day on a bases-loaded walk, making it the fifth time she reached base in the game. The runs proved to be enough for Tuthill as the Terriers closed out their second victory of the season.
“It was great to be back on the field,” said BU coach Kathryn Gleason. “We came out with a lot of energy.”
The Terriers fell to No. 17 University of Arizona in the second game of the day. Freshman pitcher Lauren Hynes got the start for BU and had trouble from the outset. She walked four in the opening frame, part of a three-run first inning for the Wildcats (10-5). Arizona added two more in the third inning on third baseman Lauren Young’s two-run homer.
Despite falling behind 5-0, the Terriers cut into the lead. In the sixth, junior third baseman Megan Volpano ripped a three-run home run to cut the deficit to 5-3. That was as close as it got for BU, however, as Arizona added another run in the bottom half of the inning and eventually came away victorious.
The second day of the tournament was rough for the Terriers, as they fell in close battles to the University of California-Riverside and again to Arizona.
The first contest was a pitcher’s duel between Tuthill and Riverside sophomore Alyssa Razo. Both pitchers put forth quality efforts and neither team scored through the first three frames. In the fourth, Riverside (7-12) plated two, thanks to a pair of BU errors.
The two runs were enough for Razo as she pitched a shutout, scattering three hits and striking out three en route to the win.
In the second game of the day, the Terriers fell to Arizona for the second time in as many days. Tuthill got the start for BU again, and struggled in the first. Extra-base hits from shortstop Brigette Del Ponte and first baseman Hallie Wilson aided in giving Arizona an early 3-0 lead.
The early deficit was enough to deter the Terriers from victory. Despite an RBI fielder’s choice from junior catcher Amy Ekart, BU was unable to solve Arizona pitcher Shelby Babcock, as she allowed only one run in her team’s 4-1 victory.
“There are no moral victories,” Gleason said. “It was a great environment. The kids never backed down.”
The Terriers looked to salvage a win on the tournament’s final day. Facing Riverside again, BU won in a wild affair.
Hynes struggled again in her start for BU, allowing four runs in her four innings of work, and the Terriers fell behind 4-1 early. With a run-scoring double from Roesch and an RBI single from Ekart, the Terriers cut the lead to one in the fifth. They tied the game in the sixth on sophomore outfielder Emily Felbaum’s sacrifice fly. In the seventh, BU took the lead coming off the bat of sophomore left fielder Mandy Fernandez’s three-run homer, giving the Terriers a 7-4 lead going into the bottom half of the seventh.
Riverside would not go quietly, scoring twice in the inning on Tuthill, who came in relief for BU. Riverside got the tying run to second, but with shortstop Nicolette Lujan’s fly out to right, the Terriers earned the victory.
“[The Highlanders are] a well-coached team,” Gleason said. “They kept battling. It was a little gut-wrenching.”