Top Story, Spring, Softball

Sellers’ Walk-Off Homer Caps Series-Opening Comeback Against Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech entered Friday night’s series opener against Boston College softball tied for the ACC lead in home runs, despite having the lowest batting average in the conference. The Yellow Jackets lived up to the reputation, hitting a pair of long balls off Allyson Frei and Jessica Dreswick. But the Eagles got the last laugh.

After recording two runs in the seventh inning to force extras, BC traded a couple of scoreless frames with its Coastal Division foe. For a while, it looked as if neither side was going to budge. Dreswick retired the side in the top of the 10th, and GT’s Emily Anderson came within three pitches of stringing together her own one-two-three inning. C.C. Cook played spoiler, ripping a double into the left-center gap. The freshman’s two-bagger marked the Eagles’ sixth-straight frame with at least one hit. Attempting to capitalize on the situation, head coach Ashley Obrest called on Gianna Randazza to pinch run for Cook—little did she know that she wouldn’t need speed on the basepaths. It was going to be a slow trot home.

The ensuing batter, Cami Sellers, stepped up to bat and took the second pitch she saw to center field for a walk-off, two-run homer. Sellers strolled around the bases, pumping her fist as she watched all of her teammates congregate around the plate. The two-run shot was the freshman’s fifth and BC’s 20th of the year—the third-fewest in the ACC. More importantly, though, it capped a five-run comeback and tied off an 8-6 victory, the Eagles’ sixth-straight win over the Yellow Jackets.

Part of the reason why BC (29-21, 12-9 Atlantic Coast) was stuck in a hole in the first place was because Frei couldn’t seem to carry over her success from her mid-week outing against Bryant. The redshirt junior walked the game’s first batter, Draven Sonnon. Then, three pitches later, she conceded a two-run bomb to Cameron Stanford. Just like that, the Eagles were already trailing by two. In retaliation, Frei fanned the next three batters, escaping the inning as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, BC only tallied one hit—an Emme Martinez double—in the first four frames of play. Anderson went up and down the Eagles’ lineup with ease, striking out four during that span. The Yellow Jackets’ (27-24, 12-10) offense made the most of the opportunity, distancing themselves from BC in the top of the fourth.

Leading off, Crosby Huckabay drew a four-pitch walk. Following a Rebecca Prairie flyout, Lilly Hooper booked a trip to first base in identical fashion. With two on, Breanna Roper singled to shortstop, sending Huckabay home. Center fielder Lexi DiEmmanuele committed a costly error on the throw, allowing Roper to advance to third and Hooper to score all the way from first. Soon after, Kelsey Chisholm roped an RBI single down the left field line. GT ended up recording one more hit in the inning, but would strand two runners on base. Still, with a five-run lead in the fourth, there was no question that the Yellow Jackets were in total command of the game.

Everything changed when Dreswick replaced Frei in the circle. Although she hit the first batter she faced, the senior immediately settled in, logging a trio of Ks to get out of the frame. That’s when BC’s bats finally came alive. Cook bought herself a free pass to first and, two batters later, Allyson Moore singled through the left side. A Jordan Chimento hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for Carly Severini, who was pinch hitting for Olivia Markopoulos. Obrest’s decision to insert the junior paid off, big-time. Severini delivered a bases-clearing triple down the left field line, cutting the Eagles’ deficit to two. As she’s wont to do, DiEmmanuele laid down a perfect bunt, giving her enough just enough time to make it to first. Chloe Sharabba reached on a fielder’s choice, but got stuck in a run-down on her way to second. Luckily for BC, even though Sharabba got tagged out, DiEmmanuele scored in the process.

All of a sudden, the Eagles were within one run of GT.

Dreswick tacked on three more punchouts in the top of the sixth, but she didn’t escape the inning unscathed. Malea Bell, who was hitting a mere .172 on the year, got the best of the right-hander, going yard for her second home run of the season. BC would have to wait until the bottom of the seventh to counter.

Ultimately, Chimento getting hit by her second pitch of the night was what got the Eagles going. Delaney Belinskas came in to pinch run for the catcher, but her job got a whole lot easier when Severini hit a two-run bomb to left field. The junior’s homer tied the game at six and gave her five RBIs on the night—an extremely impressive feat, especially considering she entered the contest in the fifth inning. DiEmmanuele got away with another bunt single, but never advanced, and the game went to extras.

Dreswick and Anderson continued to duel, racking up a combined four strikeouts in the eighth and ninth frames. While it didn’t score, BC was certainly building momentum, logging three hits over the course of the two-inning stint. When it came to the bottom of the 10th, the Eagles were ready to walk off. Sellers’ two-run shot did the job, wrapping up the two hour and 36-minute affair.

Having scored a meager four runs in this past weekend’s three-game set at Louisville, it appeared as if BC’s lineup had taken a turn for the worse. But, in the three contests since, the Eagles have plated a total of 23 runs. Perhaps the three-game sweep in Kentucky—the second-to-last ACC series of the regular season—was exactly what Obrest’s team needed: a wake-up call of sorts.

Featured Image by Keith Carroll / Heights Editor

May 4, 2018

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