Freshman pitcher Ali Dubois emerged as a dominant force in the Boston University softball team’s first Patriot League series of the 2018 season against the United States Military Academy over the weekend.
It would be tough to follow a no-hit performance in game one, but Dubois led the Terriers (18-16, 2-1 Patriot League) to another win in game three, once again shutting out Army (12-19, 3-3 Patriot League) while surrendering only two hits.
From when her staff recruited the Torrington, Connecticut native, BU head coach Ashley Waters said she was aware of Dubois’ talent.
“Ali is a tremendous pitcher,” Waters said. “We knew that when we recruited her, and it was exciting to see her in her first Patriot League series. It gave us the confidence to stay in the game offensively.”
This was Dubois’ first no-hitter with BU, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
With the Terrier bats struggling almost as much as the Black Knights during the first game Saturday afternoon, Dubois shut down Army as the game was scoreless through seven innings.b
“I can’t say enough about Ali,” Waters said. “The best is yet to come for her. She gave us a shot in every single game this weekend, which is all you can ask for.”
BU managed just one hit in the first seven innings during the team’s second at-bat of the game against freshman pitcher Courtney Springman. She would go on to retire the next 18 of the next 20.
In the top of the eighth, senior infielder Kaitlin Sahlinger led off with a single and then was sacrificed to second. With two outs and runners on the corners, junior catcher Alex Heinen singled up the middle to plate the first two runs of the game.
Senior outfielder Emma Wong followed up with an RBI single of her own to give the Terriers a 3-0 lead.
Waters had plenty of praise for not just Dubois in the circle, but the defense behind her as well.
“There was a huge defensive play by Emma [Wong],” Waters said. “She made a catch running back to the wall, that was a big moment for us because it prevented their first hit of the game and also gave us momentum that I felt allowed us to really believe on offense that we could get it done.”
Dubois didn’t allow the Black Knights to sniff a comeback as she shut down Army, completing the no-hitter and allowing BU earn its first Patriot League win of the season.
The Black Knights evened the series in game two, edging the Terriers 3-2. Dubois started, but gave up two runs and four hits, and couldn’t get through the second inning.
BU hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth to knot the game, courtesy of junior catcher and infielder Alexa Ponce and Sahlinger.
Freshman pitcher Cali Dolfi, who relieved Dubois, surrendered an unearned run in the sixth inning as a costly error gave Army a lead they would not relinquish.
In game three, it was a rematch of the two freshman pitchers, Dubois and Springman. Dubois would once again outpitch Springman, who surrendered nine walks and five hits.
The Terriers scored two in the second inning, but left the bases loaded. Senior infielder Brittany Younan singled in the first run and senior infielder and outfielder Jilee Schanda was walked with the bases loaded to make it 2-0.
At 3-0, BU got some insurance in the seventh, scoring four more runs off three hits and two Black Knight errors.
Dubois picked up two more wins this weekend, pushing her league-leading total to 12. The Terriers also lead the league in team ERA (2.42) and team batting average (.278).
It doesn’t get any easier for BU on the schedule, and Waters said she believes her team is up for the fight.
“I think every Patriot League series is going to be a good measuring stick for us,” Waters said. “I think Lehigh, Army and Bucknell are all going to be really competitive and whoever wins these series is going to be the team that will host the tournament and be really tough to beat. We hope that team can be us.”