Softball, Sports

Terriers dominate in historic home opener, sweeping Yale

The Boston University softball team has a couple things to get used to after its home opener Tuesday. One is easier than the others.

Graduate student catcher Audrey Sellers (13) catches the softball in a game against Yale University on Tuesday. The Terriers swept the double header with a 7-1 victory, followed by a 7-0 victory over Yale. ZOE KU/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

The easy one: entering the home opener ranked for the first time in program history, the team is ranked No. 24 nationally. The hard ones: the Boston weather and the new padded fences on the BU softball field.

While the ripping Boston winds and cushioned outfield walls might require some adjusting, the Terriers (22-3) had no trouble meeting expectations, beating Yale (6-17, 3-0 Ivy League) 7-1 and 7-0 in a doubleheader.

Game 1:

Graduate student pitcher Allison Boaz started in the circle for BU. In her typical fashion, the lefty mowed through the Bulldog lineup the first time through, striking out the first four and seven of her first ten batters.

“Allie did a really good job commanding the zone and mixing speeds,” head coach Ashley Waters said. “Obviously, her changeup was devastating.”

Senior infielder Carolyn Skotz recorded Yale’s first hit of the day in the top of the fourth inning, lining a double into the right center gap. After advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt, Skotz took off on a ground ball, beating senior Kayla Roncin’s throw home to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.

After a 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth, the Terriers exploded for five runs in the fifth.

Senior infielder Lauren Nett got the inning rolling, singling to center field for one of her three hits in the first game.

“When we were in South Carolina, she watched a lot of film,” Waters said. “[She] looked at all of her swings and approaches from the last three years.”

Graduate student catcher Audrey Sellers followed up Nett with a single of her own, and they both scored on Roncin’s single to left field. Roncin then scored on a groundout from fifth-year utility Lizzy Avery.

The inning was capped off by freshman outfielder Kylie Doherty, who blasted a ball over the left field wall for her third home run of the season, pushing the BU lead to 5-1.

“That might be the farthest home run I’ve seen hit at this field,” Waters said.

With the cushion, Avery took over in the circle for Boaz in the top of the sixth. Boaz finished with eight punchouts, surrendering only three hits over five innings.

After the Bulldogs started the sixth with two straight singles, Avery sat down the next three batters, striking out two.

The bottom of the inning saw the Terriers add two more runs, with Roncin driving in her third run of the game. Avery finished the job in the seventh, giving BU its 21st win of the season.

Game 2:

Sophomore pitcher Kasey Ricard started game two, and after giving up a single on her first pitch of the game, she buckled down, surrendering only one other hit.

Her final line: seven innings pitched and eight strikeouts, lowering her ERA to 2.08. Ricard’s entire repertoire fooled Yale’s order.

“My curveball was definitely spinning off the plate, which was working well,” Ricard said. “My riseball as a chase pitch or a setup pitch was really working.”

The Terriers got on the board in the bottom of the third, with senior Lauren Keleher rifling a ball off the wall in right center for a triple, scoring Sellers. Keleher followed Sellers, scoring on a Roncin groundout.

Keleher recorded three hits in the second game, after going an uncharacteristic 0-4 in the opener.

“I thought Lauren swung it incredibly today, regardless of the result,” Waters said. “[In] the first game, she couldn’t hit the ball harder.”

BU tacked on a third run in the fourth, courtesy of a double from sophomore infielder Brooke Deppiesse.

The game was broken open in the fifth. Keleher and Roncin led off the inning with singles, and Doherty drove them both in, grounding a single up the middle.

Doherty was the lone freshman in the Terriers’ lineup, and she’s already proving what she can do.

“Kylie’s in the lineup for a reason,” Waters said. “She’s getting more and more comfortable and owning what she does.”

Boaz, who has added a hot bat to her already elite work in the circle, tripled to right, scoring Doherty and extending the lead to 6-0.

After a clean top of the sixth from Ricard, the Terriers added one more, with Keleher scoring all the way from first on a Roncin single.

A dominant return to campus isn’t new for Waters’ team, but being ranked for the first time at this point in the season was a surreal moment for Waters.

“Hearing [our ranking] announced before the game was the first time I actually took it in,” she said.

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