Softball, Sports

Softball blanks Brown to end out-of-conference play

Senior infielder Alexa Ponce in a April 17th game against UMass Lowell. Ponce recorded 4 RBI en route to a 6-0 win over Brown University. RACHEL SHARPLES/ DFP STAFF

The Boston University softball team beat Brown University 6-0 Wednesday afternoon in their final non-conference matchup, increasing their win streak to 13 straight games.

Senior infielder Alexa Ponce carried the offense for the Terriers (33-17, 14-1 Patriot League), with four RBIs in the first three innings in a game that BU led wire-to-wire. Freshman pitcher Emily Gant stepped into the circle for BU and delivered another strong performance to the tune of six innings, four strikeouts and one hit while working around four walks.

BU head coach Ashley Waters said the team was working on different strategies, as they picked up the win. Some worked, she said, and some did not.

“I think we did a good job scratching out a win,” Waters said. “I don’t think it was our best game, but I certainly don’t think it was out worst.”

The Terriers scored early and often against the Bears (11-28, 5-16 Ivy League), starting in the top of the first inning when Ponce doubled to left field, cashing in on two runs to give the Terriers a lead before Brown had a chance to bat.

Ponce then doubled up the score in the top of the third inning when she crushed a two-run home run over the fence, giving her an efficient four RBIs in her first two at-bats.

Waters said Ponce, as well as the rest of the middle of the lineup, has been contributing well.

“Any time there’s runners on, there’s that extra focus to drive people in,” Waters said. “I think that middle of the lineup is coming up big with people on.”

While Ponce was crushing the ball around the field, Gant was working through the Bears’ lineup, albeit in a different manner than she normally does.

Gant usually cuts through opposing lineups with strikeouts — she had 138 strikeouts in 119.2 innings entering the game — but against Brown, she worked around four walks and struck-out four. Despite the drop in strikeouts, Gant did not surrender her first hit until the bottom of the sixth inning, a double to right field from Bear outfielder Ashli Lotz.

Senior catcher Alex Heinen capped off the scoring for the Terriers in the top of the sixth, when she knocked in freshman outfielder Aliyah Huerta-Leipner with a single up the middle.

Waters called on sophomore pitcher Ali DuBois to close out the game for the Terriers, and she worked a one-two-three inning to secure the win for BU.

Looking ahead, the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League tournament is on the line this weekend as the Terriers travel to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, to battle second-place Bucknell University in a three-game set.

The Bison are second in the Patriot League with a conference record of 13-2, while the Terriers lead by one game at 14-1. If BU takes at least two games from Bucknell, it will clinch the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage for conference tournament play, which starts May 9.

Bucknell will likely send pitchers Raeanne Geffert (14-12) and Lauren Lichtenwalner (11-6) to the circle to face the Terriers. Geffert sports a 2.16 ERA in 175 innings pitched while Lichtenwalner has a 2.80 ERA through 112 innings.

Waters sees this high-stakes series as nothing but a challenge her team faces every weekend. She said she is confident the team will know what to do.

“It’s pretty cool when it comes down to this on the final week,” Waters said. “This is why they play. … Every weekend is a challenge.”

Nick Telesmanic contributed to the reporting of this story.

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