NCAA, Softball, Sports

Terriers end regular season, turn attention to Patriot League Playoffs as No. 1 seed

Throwing a pitch
Junior Lizzy Avery throwing a pitch during the game against Lehigh University on May 8. The Terriers won one out of three games against Lehigh over the weekend. MAGGIE WEN/DFP STAFF

The Boston University softball team dropped their second straight game, being defeated by the Lehigh University Mountain Hawks 5-2 in a Sunday matinee. The Terriers (38-15, 16-2 Patriot League) went 1-2 in the weekend series but the sole win earned them Patriot League regular season champions for the fourth consecutive season. 

The Mountain Hawks (26-17-1, 15-3 PL) clinched the No. 2 seed in the double-elimination style tournament. The loss in the second game of the Saturday doubleheader snapped their historic 27-game win streak.

“Overall, obviously we’re disappointed,” Terriers associate head coach Becca Carden said. “All we can do is take away the good parts of that and go to work on what we need to.” 

After a scoreless top of the inning by junior pitcher Lizzy Avery, the Terrier bats got off to a hot start. Sophomore right fielder Lauren Keleher led off the Terriers by ripping a double to right field, before sophomore infielder Kayla Roncin smacked a single past the right side of the infield to bring Keleher home— giving the Terriers a 1-0 lead. The Terriers were unable to do any more damage, stranding two runners on base at the end of the inning.

After a leadoff single in the top of the second inning, Mountain Hawk sophomore catcher Amanda Greeny worked a walk. A single by junior second baseman Josie Charles would load the bases for the Mountain Hawks. With two outs, Mountain Hawks senior shortstop Carley Barjaktarovich hit a ball right back up the middle, but a running stop by Terriers senior second baseman AJ Huerta-Leipner recorded the final out for the Terriers to hold the lead.

“We’re pressing a little bit. We were swinging at a couple balls and thinking we can do a little bit more,” Carden said on the offense.

The Terriers and Mountain Hawks traded three scoreless innings before the Mountain Hawks jumped on the board in the top of the fifth. The inning began with back-to-back singles by Charles and Barjaktarovich. An error by graduate student center fielder Jen Horita allowed both to advance and Lehigh’s senior right fielder Jaelynn Chesson scored both runners with a single. The Terriers ended the inning with a double play, and the Mountain Hawks led 2-1. 

BU tried to answer in the bottom of the fifth. Junior catcher Audrey Sellers smacked a single under the glove of a diving second baseman and a bunt moved her to second. A walk by Roncin gave the Terriers first and second with two outs for senior left fielder Emily Gant. A pop out by Gant in foul territory ended the Terriers’ rally.

To get the offense back on track for the playoffs, the team must “go back to taking the walks if they give them to us,” Carden said. “Then we can put one through here and there and execute when we need to.”

The Mountain Hawks put the nail in the coffin in the top of the seventh when Chesson launched a pitch from Avery over the left field fence for a three-run home run. Going into the bottom of the seventh down 5-1, Roncin hit a double to send Keleher home and cut the lead to 5-2. The Terriers comeback ended there though — handing the Terriers their second loss in a row and second league loss for the year.

“She battled. She missed a pitch here and there, and it went over the fence. You do the best you can and she’ll be ready to go this weekend,” Carden said about Avery’s performance.

The Terriers will now turn their attention to the Patriot League tournament where they will host the top four teams in the league from May 12 through 14. They will open up tournament play on Thursday at noon against the Colgate University Raiders (19-26, 9-9 PL) who they defeated in the regular season three times.

“Most of these kids haven’t lost a Patriot League championship,” Carden said. “They’re going to do whatever they need to do to get motivated and be ready for Colgate.”

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