Sports, Softball

Providence’s Alvarez Hurls One-Hitter, Friars Blank BC

After a momentum-building win against Quinnipiac, where Boston College softball piled up eight runs for the first time since March 3, things appeared to bode well for the Eagles’ offensive efforts when they welcomed Providence the following day.

Instead, BC found itself locked in a pitching duel with the Friars, a non-conference rival, and it came down to which freshman would crack first—the Eagles’ Susannah Anderson or Providence’s Daniela Alvarez. Ultimately, it was neither, as it was BC’s defense—which has committed an ACC-worst 45 errors thus far—that faltered in the sixth inning, handing the Friars a slim 1-0 win.

Initially on defense, the Eagles (8-15, 0-3 Atlantic Coast) played well behind Anderson, managing to hold their errors to a minimum. Anderson scattered hits and stranded six runners in scoring position through the first five frames, working around a lone error.

The sixth frame is what got the best of BC, though. Although Anderson pitched well, she needed help from her team, which they didn’t fully reciprocate and let her down when bases were loaded. Providence’s (14-10) Crista San Antonio reached to open the inning on an error from Eagles’ second baseman Jenn Ergle, then Mackensie Compton followed with a single through the left side and pinch hitter Hadley Tate added a one-out single to load the bases.

With a chance to get out of the inning with minimal damage, Anderson got Lauren Nunez to ground the ball to third base. BC’s Emme Martinez alertly fielded it and rifled a throw home to get the second out, but catcher Gianna Boccagno—perhaps showing her youth in a crucial moment—misfired on her ensuing throw to first. It should have been an easy out, but instead allowed Compton to race home for the game’s only run. Further damage was avoided as Anderson got an inning ending groundout, but the one run was enough, as Alvarez was on fire.

The Friars freshman went the distance, allowing one hit—a one-out single in the first inning from Martinez—while striking out 11 and not issuing a walk. The next baserunner to reach against her came in the second, after an error, but BC’s Ellie Mataya was promptly gunned down trying to steal second. After that out, Alvarez retired the next 15 batters she faced, ultimately ending the game with back-to-back strikeouts.

Anderson tossed a great game and seems to have pitched even better than she did in her matchup against Quinnipiac, where she didn’t allow a run over four innings. She had excellent command of her pitches and fanned Friars at key times, finishing with three strikeouts and one unearned run in seven innings of work. It was hard for Providence to get on base, until the sixth inning came around. Anderson also made some impressive plays on defense, like in the top of the second when she snagged the ball after the Friars batter hit it straight back at the mound, recording an easy out.

One area where Providence did noticeably better than the Eagles was in stealing bases. BC couldn’t respond to the Friars’ speed on the basepath, allowing its visitors some easy advances into scoring position—they swiped three bases and created multiple jams for Anderson in the early going.

Offensively, the Eagles chased a number of pitches throughout the shutout defeat. Alvarez was simply overpowering at times, reflecting the quality of pitchers that the team will see in conference play.

Routine plays were not made, resulting in four Eagles errors, two of which cost them an important midweek victory. In the end, it was the lack of offense at the plate that let BC down. Even with a couple of fielding miscues, defensively, the Eagles had what it took to win the game, especially considering that Anderson gave a great effort from the mound. With the heart of conference play on tap, BC will have to be more disciplined, both at the plate and in the field, if it is to turn this season around.

Featured Image by Delaney Vorwick / For The Heights

March 22, 2019