Spring, Softball

Martinez Powers Eagles to First Series Win Against Notre Dame Since 1998

With two Notre Dame runners on base and the tying run at the plate in the top of the seventh inning, Boston College softball right-hander Allyson Frei found herself, yet again, in a pivotal moment. The redshirt junior struggled mightily on Friday, bounced back on Saturday, and was now aiming to finish off an Irish team that, historically, had the Eagles’ number.

She beared down, striking out M.K. Bonamy, and then, in a comparable moment to her complete game shutout of Florida State the week prior, got Alexis Holloway to fly out to end the game and secure a huge 9-6 win for their fourth conference series win of the year.

Emme Martinez paved the way for BC (25-18, 11-6 Atlantic Coast), piling up three hits and driving in five runs—three coming via the long ball—out of the five-spot in the lineup. The freshman easily set a career-high in runs driven in, accounting for over half of the Eagles’ scoring in the win. The lineup enjoyed a productive day overall, as all but two batters recorded hits, consistently crowding the basepaths.

Frei took over for Jessica Dreswick, who had an uncharacteristically poor start, and went four and two-thirds innings to get the win and even her record. After failing to make it out of the first inning in the series opener against the Irish (29-18, 12-8), Frei has responded emphatically—she didn’t allow a run and scattered a pair of hits in the extended relief outing. Since Friday, Frei turned in 10 and two-thirds innings of work against Notre Dame and allowed just two earned runs while striking out six.

Dreswick, in a outing similar to Frei’s aforementioned Friday start, was charged with six runs, five earned, in just two and a third innings. The senior had arguably her worst outing in quite a few appearances, as the last time she gave up six runs was March 23 against Virginia. Like that game, though, she was backed up by a steady offensive effort.

Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on the strength of a sacrifice fly from Katie Marino, but the Eagles quickly responded in kind. The Irish started Holloway, who had impressed in Friday’s win with seven strikeouts, but she couldn’t find the same success the second time around. The first three BC batters reached, as Lexi DiEmmanuele singled, Chloe Sharabba walked, and Annie Murphy followed with a RBI single up the middle to even the score.

Sharabba would then score after an error on Irish catcher Madison Heide before Martinez drove in her first run, punching a single through the left side. Handed a two-run lead, Dreswick returned to the mound and immediately gave it back. She walked Cait Brooks to open the second then gave up a double to Melissa Rochford to put the pair in scoring position. After two quick outs, she seemed poised to escape the inning, but instead coughed up a two-run, game-tying single to Alexis Bazos.

Then, the same scenario played out again. Dreswick was given a one-run lead heading into the third after Murphy hit an RBI double into right-center, but she soon ran into trouble—issues with control cost the ace. With one out, Dreswick loaded the bases via a pair of singles and walk. The Irish were seeing the ball exceptionally well, as another single—a two-run hit to right-center—from Bonamy gave them the lead.

BC head coach Ashley Obrest then opted for Frei, and she was greeted rudely as a perfectly executed double steal saw Rochford race home. Still, it was the last run Notre Dame would manage, as the Irish quickly found themselves overmatched by Dreswick’s replacement and the entire Eagles lineup.

While Holloway needed just 15 pitches to get through the third, BC made things difficult in the fourth. After Olivia Markopoulous and Murphy both reached via walks with two outs, a run came in after an error in left—a costly one that prevented Holloway from escaping the inning with the lead. The error was then magnified when Martinez stepped to the plate and launched a three-run shot to right-center, bringing in three and handing the Eagles the lead and ultimately, the game.

Martinez added an insurance run with a single in the seventh, capping the nine-run outburst that secured BC a series win against an opponent that has been nothing short of dominant against the Eagles in the past—the Irish had won 11 of the last 12 meetings and were 27-8 overall in the Holy War, prior to the weekend. It was even more impressive, though, when considering the context of the ACC standings. After taking one of three against Atlantic Divison leading FSU, the Eagles found themselves in similar position as Notre Dame in a fight for the second spot. For the moment, at least, they’ve taken it—and have the potential to distance themselves from their South Bend rival this upcoming weekend, as they take on a weaker Louisville team while the Irish host the Seminoles, winners of four straight.

Featured Image by Keith Carroll / Heights Editor

April 22, 2018