Softball, Sports, Spring

Eagles Extend Winning Streak With Two-Game Sweep at Syracuse

Of late, runs have been coming at a premium for Syracuse. In fact, over the course of the past seven games, the Orange has only scored 1.86 per contest. Not to mention that during that span, head coach Mike Bosch’s team has recorded a mere five extra-base hits. Boston College softball, on the other hand, is experiencing a revival of sorts at the plate.

The Eagles not only logged 10 or more runs in a single game for the second time this season in the abbreviated two-game series—upping their scoring average to 6.33 runs per game in the last week of action—but also went yard twice in the back half of Saturday’s doubleheader, completing the sweep with a dominant 12-2 victory.    

Neither team got on the board in the opening frame, but from the second inning on, BC’s (15-15, 5-3 Atlantic Coast) lineup was unstoppable. The Eagles scored at least one run in each of the remaining six frames, starting with an Emme Martinez RBI double in the top of the second. Jordan Chimento extended her eight-game hitting streak with a single to center field, and the freshman did the rest of work to bring her home.

That’s not to say that Syracuse (16-14, 4-7) was out of the game from the start. In the bottom half of the inning, Toni Martin took four pitches, booking a free trip to first base. Soon after, she rounded home to tie it all up at one, thanks to a pair of singles. The back-and-forth affair was short-lived, though.

One frame later, Cami Sellers singled to right field, scoring Annie Murphy to reclaim the Eagles’ lead. Then, in the fourth, the floodgates opened.

Martinez got things going with a single down the right field line. Immediately, head coach Ashley Obrest called on dual-sport athlete Delaney Belinskas to pinch run. The sophomore made the most of the opportunity, swiping second in no time. All it took was a sacrifice bunt to advance the women’s hockey player to third. From there, a Murphy single gave Belinskas more than enough time to make it home. The ensuing batter, C.C. Cook, ripped another RBI single up the middle, creating distance between the Atlantic Division rivals. Annamarie Gatti was clearly rattled—the right-hander recorded two-consecutive walks, all while plating Murphy.

Eventually, the Orange escaped the inning and even tacked on a run of its own in minutes later with a couple of two-baggers, closing the gap to three. Unfortunately for Bosch and Co., its deficit was about to double.

In practically identical fashion, the Eagles—the third-worst power hitting team in the conference—strung together a pair of home runs in the fifth inning. Right off the bat, a Chimento hit-by-pitch set the stage for Martinez to tee off a two-run shot down the left field line. Gatti approached the next batter, Olivia Markopoulos, with caution, but that didn’t work either—after working a full count, the freshman drew a walk. Bosch had seen enough: In attempt to stop the bleeding, he yanked Gatti and inserted Miranda Hearn, but the freshman didn’t fare any better in the circle. Two pitches in, Chloe Sharabba blasted a home run over the left field fence, increasing BC’s lead to seven.

Meanwhile, Allyson Frei was having her way with the Orange lineup. The redshirt junior only allowed two hits during the final four innings of play. When all was said and done, Frei racked up nine strikeouts, her second-most in a single game this season. If it wasn’t for the Eagles’ offense, she could’ve easily tallied a few more.

The Eagles run-ruled Syracuse in the sixth inning after driving in three additional insurance runs. Both Chimento and Markopoulos drew four-pitch walks, and Sharabba was hit by a pitch. With three men on, Murphy singled to center field—the hit, coupled with a fielding error was enough to clear the bases, effectively sealing the win.

BC could have used some of those runs earlier in the day. The Eagles were deadlocked at zero in a pitcher’s duel between Jessica Dreswick and Alexa Romero. It was only a matter of time—five innings to be exact—until BC’s bats came alive. The Eagles poured on a combined four runs in the fifth and sixth frames, giving their ace the support she needed to pull out a 4-2 series-opening victory.

Romero had BC’s number in the early going. The lefty fanned seven of the first nine batters that she faced and threw four-straight hitless innings. But when the fifth inning came along, she finally cracked. Romero walked Lexi DiEmmanuele on six pitches and then let one get away, giving the speedy DiEmmanuele a free trip to second base. All it took was a Chimento bunt single toward shortstop to score DiEmmanuele. Up, 1-0, Murphy tattooed a double through the left-center gap, slingshotting both Chimento and Markopoulos—who was previously hit by a pitch—home. The two-out extra-base hit changed the complexion of the game, but the front end of the doubleheader was far from over.

Syracuse promptly responded with two runs, cutting its deficit to one. Alicia Hansen fueled the comeback with a leadoff triple. A Bryce Holmgren hit-by-pitch and a Lailoni Mayfield walk loaded the bases, paving the way for Neli Casares-Maher’s error-induced, two-run fielder’s choice single. Luckily for the Eagles, they were able to get Hansen at home and tag Casares-Maher out on her way to second. Still, the damage was done.

BC wasn’t the only one struggling in the field. Carly Severini reached first on a throwing error in the top of the sixth and proceeded to score on a wild pitch. All in all, the unearned run wouldn’t end up making a difference, though. Dreswick retired the side in the final two innings of the game, securing the two-run victory.

The Eagles didn’t skip a beat in New York, extending their six-game win streak. Back to .500, head coach Ashley Obrest’s team is piecing everything together at the right time. Dreswick and Frei are finally reaping the benefits of their career-low ERAs, now that runs are being scored on a regular basis. BC logged 16 runs in the two-game set. To put that in perspective, it took the Eagles seven games just to pile up 15 in the opening month of the season. As long as BC keeps swinging the lumber, it’ll find itself right where it wants to be come postseason.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Senior Staff

April 2, 2018

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