Two days after thousands of daring athletes from all around the world flocked to Boston for a 26.2-mile run around the city, the area played host to another marathon.
Slogging through 11 innings and more than three hours of real-time play, Connecticut outlasted Boston College softball, holding on for a 7-4 victory on Wednesday.
With the scored tied at four apiece heading into the top of the 11th inning––and the afternoon sun just beginning to set behind home plate––outfielder Heather Fyfe hammered a solo bomb over the left field fence. Fellow senior Alyssa Gardea followed suit three batters later with a two-run shot to lift the Huskies (17-26, 3-7 American Athletic) to their third victory in four games.
The loss is the fourth straight for BC (21-19, 4-8 Atlantic Coast) and bookends a three-game sweep at the hands of No. 10 Florida State last weekend.
The Huskies jumped out to an early lead when, in the top of the second inning, Gardea ripped a double to left-center field, driving in Ryne Nakama and Kelli Bates.
On two separate occasions, the Eagles fought back to even the score and prolong the game.
With her team down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh and with no outs, freshman Allyson Moore reached base on an error by Connecticut shortstop Lexi Gifford. Pinch runner Jordan Reed advanced to third base after two sacrifice bunts, and Jessie Daulton slapped a triple to right field to send her home.
What-if speculators were left wondering how events could have unfolded differently had head coach Ashley Obrest let freshman Danielle Thomas, who stepped to the plate before Daulton, swing away instead of bunting.
Two scoreless innings passed before a trio of singles in the top of the 10th produced one run and a 4-3 lead for the Huskies. Catcher Jacklyn Dubois knocked in the go-ahead run with a base hit to center field.
Not ready to throw in the towel just yet, BC responded with a run of its own after Nakama, UConn’s second baseman, mishandled the ball, allowing Chloe Sharabba to cross home plate all the way from second base.
But the home runs from Fyfe and Gardea the following inning effectively put the game away. Megan Cooley reached base on an error by Connecticut first baseman Alyson Ambler, but the her teammates couldn’t manage to come through with hits to forge a comeback.
Gardea went 3-6 for the Huskies with a double and a home run, her second of the season. Nakama added two runs.
Daulton, who led the team with a .331 batting average entering the afternoon’s match-up, finished a home run away from the cycle, batting 3-5 on the afternoon.
Eagles sophomore outfielder Annie Murphy managed to run out a hit to the UConn shortstop in the bottom of the sixth inning to extend her hitting streak to six games and reach base for the eighth straight outing.
Both teams’ pitchers went the distance: Connecticut’s Jill Stockley––who sports a 2.51 ERA on the season––ceded nine hits and struck out only three batters, but allowed just two earned runs. Though she fanned 14 opponents, Allyson Frei gave up 10 hits and five earned runs on a whopping 211 pitches.
Usually stingy on defense, Huskies middle infielders Nakama and Gifford, who committed three would-be-costly errors, can sleep easy tonight after securing the victory.
Featured Image by Taylor Perison / Heights Staff