NCAA, Softball, Sports

BU softball walks it off in tight 2-1 contest over Colgate, extends win streak to 20

Strike two called down the heart of the plate.

Freshman pitcher Kasey Ricard during a game against Colgate on Saturday. BU beat Colgate 2-1 last Friday. HUI-EN LIN/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Freshman pitcher Kasey Ricard, who was put in relief just three batters prior, took the mound with a favorable 1-2 count in the top of the sixth. At the plate stood Colgate infielder Elizabeth Nitka, who was 1-2 on the day so far.

Nitka fouled the next pitch down the left-field line.

Ricard locked in once again. The bases were loaded with two down. BU, down by only a run, was a misplaced pitch away from turning a paper cut into a bullet hole. 

Ricard’s next pitch dribbled off Nitka’s bat down the left field line foul again.

The Raiders bench, which had been lively all day, kept their foot on the gas with barks, claps and personalized chants.

Foul again.

Going into the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Ricard was ready. She had just lost an eight-pitch battle to Alexis Romero, putting the infielder on first with a walk. Now, she was faced with another lengthy plate appearance.

This time? Swing and a miss strike three.

“I always think to be the most confident because if I’m not, then they’re gonna hit it,” Ricard said. “I was just thinking not to throw it down the middle.”

After escaping the jam, the Terriers (42-7, 12-0 Patriot League) scored a run in each of the final two innings to walk off a 2-1 victory over the Raiders (16-26, 5-7 PL) on Friday afternoon. The win was BU’s 20th in a row, the second-longest streak in program history. 

“We’re gonna play close games … you gotta find a way to win them. This was a close game, maybe because of some of our own ability,” BU head coach Ashley Waters said. “[We] made this a lot more difficult than it needed to be.”

The scoreboard saw no activity for either team during the majority of the contest, but it wasn’t for lack of opportunities. The Terriers recorded 11 hits while stranding nine runners on base; meanwhile, the Raiders posted seven hits and abandoned eight runners. 

Colgate outfielder Taylor Ludwick broke the deadlock in the top of the fourth inning when she lifted the first pitch of her at-bat deep into the trees behind the right field fence to give the Raiders a 1-0 advantage. That was all they could muster as a groundout and an eventual strikeout ended any momentum.

The Terriers came knocking on the door in the bottom of the fifth when junior outfielder Lauren Keleher — who went 3-3 on the afternoon — hit a single, and senior infielder Caitlin Coker was hit by a pitch to load the bases. However, a popout ended the inning with nothing to show for it.

“I need the offense to be better,” Waters said. “We need to swing at strikes, and we gotta run the bases better.”

BU senior pitcher Allison Boaz had a solid outing on the mound, recording four strikeouts across 5.1 innings and allowing only one run. Ricard entered the game in the middle of the sixth inning after a leadoff single from Colgate threatened to break the game open.

“It was best to try to go with a strikeout pitcher and someone that I felt confident with that could get a swing or miss or weaker fly ball,” Waters said. “[Ricard] executed perfectly.”

Ricard earned her 17th win, striking out four of the seven batters she faced to close out the game, three of which went down looking. The four-time Patriot League Pitcher of the Week winner held 161 strikeouts through 119.1 innings before this weekend, a top 20 mark in the NCAA.

The Terriers finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth, starting off with freshman infielder Brooke Deppiesse singling to left field for her personal-best third hit of the afternoon. Junior right fielder Lauren Nett then scorched a double to center, moving Deppiesse to third. Graduate student catcher/infielder Nicole Amodio finished the job, sending a fly ball just far enough in right for Deppiesse to tag up and knot the game at one. 

“There [were] different momentum shifts throughout the game,” Waters said. “I appreciate the fact they’re resilient enough to come back. I appreciate with six outs, they [found] a way.”

Ricard shut the Raiders down in order in the top of the seventh, opening the door for BU to complete the comeback. Keleher started the inning with a 200-foot double off the back wall. A Coker groundout moved Keleher to third before sophomore left fielder Tyesha Williams chopped a walk-off single between third and short to claim the series opener.

The Terriers won both games of Saturday’s doubleheader to sweep the series against the Raiders. They are now one game shy of tying the program’s win record of 43, set in 2009.  

BU remains tied atop the Patriot League standings with Lehigh University, with both teams perfect in conference play. With a three-game series against both Lehigh and the United States Military Academy to close out the season, BU is looking to claim its sixth PL championship since joining in 2014.

But first, the Terriers will take on Green Line rival Boston College on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Chestnut Hill for their final non-conference game of the regular season. 

“I want us to be playing our best softball right now, and we’re not,” Waters said. “We have to get better.”

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