Boston University softball traveled to Athens, Georgia to compete in the NCAA tournament, where they were ultimately eliminated after playing three games.
The Terriers (52-10, 17-1 Patriot League) opened the weekend with a 6-1 loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies (39-20) Friday at Jack Turner Stadium.
Senior pitcher Allison Boaz started in the circle for BU. The back-to-back Patriot League Pitcher of the Year struggled to get ahead in counts, and the Hokies capitalized by playing small ball to perfection. The Hokies opened the scoring in the bottom of the third after a single from junior infielder Cameron Fagan scored a run. Junior outfielder Emma Ritter furthered the damage with a two-RBI single to extend Tech’s lead to 3-0.
Boaz was relieved by senior pitcher Lizzy Avery after just 46 pitches in 2.1 innings, surrendering three runs on seven hits.
The Hokies entered the tournament as the top power-hitting team in the nation, with 97 home runs on the season entering Friday’s match. However, they only needed singles and good baserunning to propel themselves to victory.
“Great-hitting teams are going to find a way,” BU head coach Ashley Waters said. “They generated short game offense, base hits, and singles … I feel like they beat us at our own game.”
The Terriers’ offense was stymied by sophomore pitcher Emma Lemley, who took a perfect game into the fifth inning until junior utility player Lauren Nett reached base with a one-out single.
The Hokies tacked on three more runs courtesy of RBI singles from three different players.
BU’s lone run came in the top of the sixth when freshman utility player Aimee Metz scored on a Tech error.
“You have to find a way to play smart softball,” Waters said. “Today, we were just a step behind.”
BU staved off elimination with an 8-0 run-rule victory against the North Carolina Central Eagles (19-35) on Saturday afternoon.
Boaz got the start again for BU and opposite her was sophomore utility player Jaden Davis. Both found success early as Boaz got swing-and-miss stuff from her offspeed while Davis made play after play in the circle with her glove.
BU began scoring in the bottom of the fourth when senior infielder Caitlin Coker led off the inning with her nation-leading 12th triple of the season and scored on a groundout.
The Terrier offense broke the game open in the bottom half of the fifth, plating four runs on six hits, including four straight singles to start the frame. Junior infielder Kayla Roncin drove in her 55th RBI of the season, breaking the previous school record.
“I thought our approach was really good from the start,” Waters said. “The more pressure we put on, the better it got … we had some kids step up in big moments.”
Boaz continued to dominate, throwing six shutout innings, striking out seven. She only gave up two hits and walked two batters.
BU scored three more runs in the sixth as junior infielder Kate Pryor tripled to start the inning and scored on a wild pitch. Two more runs scored on a passed ball and a sacrifice fly from Roncin, ending the game through the run rule.
The win against NC Central awarded coach Waters’ her 271st win as head coach, tied for the most all-time in school history.
The Terriers’ season ended at the hands of a familiar opponent, losing 9-0 to Virginia Tech.
Kasey Ricard, freshman pitcher and Patriot League Rookie of the Year, started the game in the circle for BU. The Hokies got to her early as senior outfielder Kelsey Brown walked on four pitches to start the game, and junior infielder Addy Greene doubled to give Tech a 1-0 lead after the first half inning.
Opposite Ricard was freshman pitcher Lyndsey Grein, who tossed a complete game shutout and struck out four while only giving up five hits.
“We weren’t able to string it along or play complete games against them both times, and that’s unfortunate, but that’s the beauty of our sport. Sometimes you have it, sometimes you don’t,” Waters said.
Tech opened the floodgates in the top of the fourth inning, scoring five runs on four hits, including a Ritter solo home run. They added three more runs in the next inning to extend the lead to 9-0, forcing BU to score at least two runs in the bottom half to extend the game.
A walk and back-to-back singles loaded the bases to start the inning, but the Terriers failed to capitalize, and the game ended by run rule.
“[The season] was really special. Incredible leaders top to bottom, incredible talent top to bottom, really great pitching staff,” Waters said.
The Terriers retain most of their team next season, so they are poised to return to the NCAA tournament next year.
“I’m never satisfied, and I always want more,” said Waters. “I think this [season] is one that, if you ask me in June, my heart is going to be pretty filled.”