The Boston University softball team (31-13, 9-0 PL) extended its program-record win streak to 20 in a dramatic 3-2 walkoff win over the Boston College Eagles (19-21).
“I like the fight and the competitiveness,” BU head coach Ashley Waters said postgame. “I’m impressed with just the grit to stick it through … to fight, to hang in there and our pitching, to keep them at bay with two runs with a really good offensive team.”
The Terriers batters continued their hot streak. Junior infielder Caitlin Coker ripped a double off the center field wall, before sophomore infielder Kayla Roncin found the gap in between center and right field for an RBI triple, giving the Terriers a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
“It’s definitely always good to have a good day at the plate. I was feeling good, feeling confident,” Coker said of her performance.
Junior pitcher Allison Boaz worked a one-two-three inning in the second, including a shoestring catch by sophomore infielder Kate Pryor to end the inning. Boaz once again sent the Eagles down in order in the top of the third in just eight pitches.
“She spins the ball well and is killer with a changeup. I feel like she kept them off balance for so long, that they didn’t know what were strikes and what was coming in hot and what was coming in slow,” junior pitcher Lizzy Avery said of Boaz.
BU found a way to add to its lead in the bottom of the fourth. Senior infielder Emily Gant hustled her way down the first base line to beat the throw from Eagles’ junior infielder Abigail Knight. Gant moved to second on a wild pitch, before a throwing error from Knight, on a ground ball by Terriers senior infielder Nicole Amodio, allowed Gant to come home from second, giving the Terriers a 2-0 lead. Amodio reached safely at second base from the error. The Terriers stranded two to keep it 2-0 through four.
In the top of the sixth, the Eagles bats woke up and put the Terriers on their heels. A BC batter finally reached base for the first time in 15 hitters, before an RBI double later in the inning scored by BC freshman catcher Hannah Slike scored both runners on base to tie the game at 2. BU was able to prevent further damage, as Boaz forced a flyout to center field, and the Terriers doubled up Slike, who tried to get back to third, ending the inning and the Eagles rally. Boaz finished with six innings pitched, three hits, one walk, five strikeouts and one earned run.
“As of lately, the games have gotten a lot better and a lot more competitive, so I think for her she just made the moment kind of bigger than it is,” Waters said. “Unfortunately it cost two runs. But, for her, I thought that she did a really great job with the offspeed keeping them off balance, getting some weak outs and really setting up for Lizzy to come in behind her with more velocity and look really great.”
Avery replaced Boaz at the top of the seventh inning. Avery worked around a leadoff infield single to retire the next three Eagles and give the Terriers a chance to walk it off.
“You can’t think about them scoring. You just got to think about shutting it down,” Avery said on pitching in extras.
The Terriers weren’t able to bat any runners in during the seventh and sent the game to extra innings.
In the top of the eleventh, a stunning throw to home by sophomore right fielder Lauren Keleher made the final out of the inning, kept the score tied at two and brought the fans to their feet. Avery finished her outing with five innings pitched, four hits allowed, no walks, nine strikeouts and no earned runs.
“I know my defense has got my back and it’s just great to be able to rely on them to make big plays, so I don’t have to do it all myself,” Avery said of the team’s defensive performance.
In the bottom of the eleventh, the Terriers looked to end their longest home game since 2009. On her first pitch at bat, Roncin drilled a ball way which flew way over the left field fence, but was foul by mere feet. Two pitches later, she shot a pitch right back up the middle to center field for a single, scoring Pryor and giving BU a 3-2 walk-off win.
“I was definitely disappointed, but I had to focus on my next couple pitches. I knew I was gonna get another one, and that I still had another opportunity. I just had to put the ball in play and make something happen,” Roncin said.
The Terriers extended their winning streak to 20 games, and their home winning streak to 24 straight games.
“It does feel really good. But again, we’re just taking it game by game,” Coker said. “We don’t really care about records, we don’t care about streaks. It just matters who we’re playing right now, who’s next, just taking it one game at a time.”