Spring, Softball

Eagles Finish Winless at Texas Classic to Open 2019 Campaign

The Texas Classic was an exciting way to kick off the 2019 Boston College softball season, as the four-team field combined to play 10 games over three days in Austin, Texas. Coming in, the host Longhorns boasted a No. 16 preseason ranking after going to the NCAA Regionals last season and were the cream of the crop, but Boise State won 40 games in 2018 and Northwestern State finished three games above .500. The Eagles, meanwhile, entered hoping to put the right foot forward with a youthful roster. They’d fared poorly in the Aggie Classic last season in a similar round-robin format, losing all four games.

Things didn’t quite go as planned, though, with BC replicating its weak showing at the outset of last season. The Eagles (0-4) went winless, scoring more than a run in just one of its four games. Ultimately, it was a rough weekend for BC and head coach Ashley Obrest, as the team clearly missed the consistency of last year’s pitching staff.

No. 16 Texas 9, BC 1 (Sun.)

For the third time in four games, the Eagles couldn’t find an answer in the circle, heading out of Texas having suffered another run-rule defeat. The Longhorns took advantage of four BC errors, chased starter Camryn Dolby in the first inning after she registered a lone out, and eventually walked it off in the fifth inning with a steal of home by Shannon Rhodes.

Dolby wrapped up a forgettable weekend, with the freshman allowing 11 earned runs in just four and two-thirds innings of work. Texas was all over her in the opening frame, scoring eight runs with relative ease. The scoring came in a plethora of ways—Rhodes opened her team’s day with a sacrifice fly, a throwing error from BC catcher Gianna Boccagno brought in another, and Mary Iakopo hit a two-run home run to end Dolby’s day.

Her replacement, Susannah Anderson, ran into some early struggles. A bases loaded hit by pitch, back-to-back walks, and a wild pitch dug the Eagles an eight-point deficit. Boccagno alleviated the pain of what could’ve been a third shutout with a solo home run down the left field line in the second inning, but that was one of just four hits on the day for BC.

Northwestern State 9, BC 5 (Sun.)

The bats finally came alive in the Eagles third game of the weekend, the only problem was once again that the opponent piled up runs with relative ease. BC struck for two runs in the first inning, but C.C. Cook’s first start for the Eagles didn’t go as planned as the team dropped its third straight, falling, 9-5. Cook was chased in the third inning, allowing six runs, five earned. The sophomore walked six batters, hit two, and added a wild pitch for good measure in the loss.

Reliever Kendra Friedt didn’t fare much better, walking five and allowing three runs in just over an inning of work. Anderson was finally able to calm things down with two innings of scoreless relief, but the damage was done as the Eagles trailed by seven runs after Cook and Friedt exited. BC chased Northwestern State starter E.C. Delafield in the opening inning, thanks to a two-run single from Boccagno, but Lady Demons’ reliever Bronte Rhoden threw five and a third innings to record the win.

Rhoden was pulled in the final inning after Boccagno homered and the next two batters reached, but a late rally from the Eagles fell short. Rhoden’s replacement, Samantha Guile, allowed a two-run triple to to Carlie Sanders, but settled down and got consecutive outs to close out the victory. BC equaled Northwestern State in hits with six, but rarely moved players into scoring position until late. The team’s pitching situation is decisively unsettled, with neither of the first two pitchers appearing to be confident in the circle.

No. 16 Texas 8, BC 0 (Sat.)

A shaky opening weekend continued for the Eagles, with the lineup again failing to produce in what was ultimately a run-rule shortened shutout against the top-25 Longhorns. Texas ace Brooke Bolinger spun a gem, striking out seven and allowing just two baserunners in five innings of work. Meanwhile, BC’s Anderson, making her first career start, held a potent Longhorns lineup to three runs through the first four innings but eventually would see her debut come to an end in thel fifth inning.

Anderson, who was charged with all eight runs in four and a third innings of work, had retired eight straight batters, including the leadoff hitter in the fifth. The wheels quickly came off, though, as Texas loaded the bases with consecutive singles and a walk. Janae Jefferson broke the scoreless stretch with a two-run single to left center, then Anderson’s last batter, Kaitlyn Washington, cleared the bases with a two-run triple. The lead now stretched to seven and the run-rule threatening, Obrest brought Dolby in, who promptly gave up a sacrifice fly to Taylor Ellsworth that sent everyone home early.

It was a humbling loss, considering the team allowed 16 runs in its first 10 innings of play. The minor consolation is that Bolinger is coming off a junior year in which the southpaw was a All-Big 12 Second Team selection, so her dominant outing could have likely been foreseen. On a day when the weather was a brisk 33 degrees, BC’s bats were similarly cold, with designated hitter Emme Martinez managing the lone hit in the fourth with a double. Bolinger retired the last five hitters she faced, icing on the cake for an impressive day in the circle.

Boise State 8, BC 0 (Fri.)

Life after Jessica Dreswick and Allyson Frei got off to a rather poor start, as Dolby was chased after just three and two-thirds innings of work, allowing seven runs—four earned—in a shutout loss to the Broncos. BC loaded the bases in the first inning but would go on to leave seven runners on base in a scoreless day, failing to crack the Boise State duo of Kelsey Broadus and Micaela Leal.

The game, ironically, was delayed for an hour and a half because of lightning—eerily similar to when Boston College football’s SERVPRO First Responder Bowl against Boise State was canceled for the same reason. The Eagles only trailed, 3-0, at the unconventional break, but fell apart in the fourth inning. Dolby, who battled control issues with three walks, two wild pitches, and two hit batsmen, got two outs before allowing an RBI triple to Ashlyn Adams. Obrest turned to Anderson in relief, but she promptly conceded a two-run triple to Rebekah Cervantes and an RBI double to Jessica McKay, burying the Eagles further.

BC had a few chances, most notably a bases loaded scoring opportunity in the first, but a fielder’s choice groundout from Kennedy Labshere squashed any chance at taking an early lead. The Eagles managed just four hits the duration of the game, failing to get production up and down the lineup. Leadoff hitter Lexi DiEmmanuele had one of them, but was also caught stealing and stranded three runners on base.

Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor

February 10, 2019