Softball, Sports

Softball beats No. 1 Oklahoma in Troy Cox Classic, falls in rest of matchups

Junior catcher and infielder Alexa Ponce scored the game-winning run in BU’s win against No. 1 Oklahoma. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/ DFP FILE PHOTO

The Boston University softball team hit the road for its second tournament of the 2018 season, this time traveling to Las Cruces, New Mexico for the Troy Cox Classic.

The Terriers’ (4-4) first two games on Friday against Ball State University and New Mexico State University were cancelled due to rain.

Despite losing to Ball State (5-2) 5-6 Saturday morning, BU came back in the afternoon for a thrilling 4-3 win over two-time defending national champion No. 1 University of Oklahoma.

The following morning, the Terriers were unable to repeat their success and fell to New Mexico State (3-3) 2-1.

Saturday morning, Ball State scored four runs in the first inning.

BU had back-to-back doubles from junior infielder Madi Killebrew and junior catcher Alex Heinen, and took a temporary 5-4 lead at the top of the fifth, but the Cardinals capped the game with a two-run homerun from infielder Janae Hogg at the bottom of the fifth.

Soon after, the Terriers played the top team in the nation — Oklahoma (6-1).

“You know when you take the field with a team like Oklahoma, you know that you have to step up your game a little bit and try to achieve success playing to their level,” BU head coach Ashley Waters said. “I think for our kids, we had a tough one against Ball State early and they came back kind of ready to go.”

The Terriers began the contest with a two-run lead against the Sooners’ sophomore pitcher Mariah Lopez.

Oklahoma cut the lead in half after a successful double-steal by senior outfielder Nicole Pendley and infielder Sydney Romero.

In the bottom of the third, the Sooners gained their first lead after two doubles and a single.

Oklahoma’s defensive faults soon allowed BU to knot the game during the sixth inning, as junior infielder Emily Morrow scored her second of the matchup.

The game-winning run came in the same inning as senior infielder Kaitlin Sahlinger advanced junior catcher and infielder Alexa Ponce over the home plate.

Sophomore pitcher Lizzie Annerino held on tight for 4.2 innings and limited the Sooners to a walk in each of the final two frames to give the Terriers a 4-3 win.

“To watch her go against the No. 1 team in the country and get her first collegiate win, as the coach, there’s so much pride in that,” Waters said. “I can’t say enough about her. I’m so incredibly impressed and proud of how far she’s come and the person she is right now as a player.”

Waters also commended her team’s defense.

“For us, we knew that we couldn’t really give Oklahoma anything,” Waters said. “You can’t make mistakes. You can’t put them on base. You can’t give them extra outs to work with. Their offensive lineup is so prolific that we just needed to do our part and really stand behind our pitchers and make outs.”

BU was unable to continue its success the following day against New Mexico State.

Junior utility player Kelsey Horton put the Aggies up in just the first inning of the contest with a lead-off home run.

New Mexico added another from senior infielder Rachel Rodriguez before freshman pitcher Cali Dolfi came in relief for freshman Ali Dubois.

A single from Killebrew allowed freshman outfielder Jen Horita to score in the fifth and cut the score to 2-1. The Terriers had numerous chances to tie up the game, but remained unable to do so.

“Moving forward, I think we’ve showed that we can contend and we can compete,” Waters said. “There’s going to be highs and lows and ups and downs, but I think it’s a really great thing early on that they’ve showed ‘Hey this is what we’re capable of.’”

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