Dreswick, Eagles Hand No. 21 Arizona State First Loss

Boston College softball led 3-0 in in the bottom of the seventh inning. After a leadoff single, and a subsequent walk, starting pitcher Jessica Dreswick found herself staring down Arizona State’s most dangerous hitter, Ulufa Leilua. Coming off of a two-homer night in her previous game, Leilua had one thing in mind: tie the game with one swing.

It was a tense at-bat for the Eagles, as the power-hitting Leilua took violent hacks at Dreswick’s pitches. With the game on the line, BC’s ace came through one more time for the team. After getting ahead of Leilua with two strikes, Dreswick caught her off balance with an offspeed pitch, and Leilua flied out to left field.

Dreswick, 3-1 on the year before the start, was locked in from the first inning. Her dominant fastball and crafty offspeed pitches kept the Sun Devils off balance all night. Through the first five innings of the game, Dreswick held the Sun Devils to just three hits while racking up sevem strikeouts. She finished with nine total strikeouts on the day. The Eagles rode Dreswick’s pitching to a 3-2 victory over ASU (9-1).

It was exactly what the Eagles (7-3) needed coming off a crushing 12-2 defeat at the hands of the University of Arizona just a day earlier. To the Eagles’ dismay, however, Arizona State’s Breanna Macha matched Dreswick’s pitching dominance through the first five innings, surrendering just three hits, while allowing no runs.

After a leadoff groundout in the top of the sixth inning, though, BC speedster Lexi DiEmmanuele sparked the Eagles’ offense with a single. Utilizing her elite speed, DiEmmanuele swiftly got herself in scoring position by stealing second base. With two outs in the inning, junior Jordan Chimento singled up the middle to knock in DiEmmanuele from second to break the tie. But victory was far from guaranteed.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, senior Sasha Palacios sparked the Sun Devils’ offense with a single. ASU head coach Trisha Ford promptly pinch ran Brynley Steele and pinch hit Brianna Wise. Clutching tightly to a razor-thin 1-0 lead, Dreswick, was again able to rise to the moment and shut down the Sun Devils’ rally, as she struck out Wise to end the inning.

After narrowly escaping the sixth inning with the lead intact, the Eagles’ offense came out in the seventh inning ready to tack on insurance runs. Annie Murphy started the rally with a single. Taylor Coroneos quickly bunted for a hit of her own, setting the table for Madison Paulson, who promptly smacked an RBI double down the left field line. Catcher Allyson Moore followed Paulson’s clutch hit with a single of her own, knocking in the second insurance run for BC.

The Eagles would need both insurance runs, though, as Arizona State rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning. After Dreswick retired Leilua, Arizona State’s most feared slugger, fatigue set in. She walked the next batter, bringing the winning run to the plate. A subsequent passed ball allowed the Sun Devils to score their first run, while moving the tying run to second base. After a strikeout and a walk, Arizona State’s Skylar McCarty came to bat with a chance to be the hero for the Sun Devils. Rising to the moment, the Arizona State sophomore laced a base hit to left field, bringing the crowd to its feet. Murphy closed down on the base hit quickly, and fired a strike to home plate to throw out the would-be tying run, sealing an enormous road victory for the Eagles. Dreswick finished with a complete game, striking out nine while walking just two, en route to handing Arizona State its first loss of the season.

Featured Image by Taylor Perison / Heights Archive

February 21, 2017