Spring, Softball

Eagles Use Seventh-Inning Comeback to Stun N.C. State

Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning of Boston College softball’s Friday night game against North Carolina State, things looked bleak for the Eagles. Wolfpack pitcher Devin Wallace was working on a no-hitter, and BC trailed, 3-1. And with Wallace trotting back out to the mound to try to finish the game, BC’s prospects of scoring one run, let alone two, were slim at best. Yet, improbably, the Eagles found a way to flip the script and orchestrate a comeback victory.

Emme Martinez sent a ground ball back up the middle to break up the no-hitter, and Gianna Boccagno followed suit with a grounder into left field to put two runners on base with no outs. No-hitter no longer intact, Wallace was swapped for Sydney Nester, but the change in pitcher didn’t help N.C. State stem the tide.

Jenna Ergle worked a walk to load the bases, bringing up Allyson Moore, and the senior came up clutch, lacing a double into the gap in left-center field to drive in two runs and knot the game at three. Ergle was thrown out at home on the play trying to score the winning run, leaving it up to Maddison Hamilton to complete the comeback. On a 1-1 count, the freshman slapped a weak grounder to Wolfpack shortstop April Visser. With Moore sprinting home, it looked like the freshman had a chance to get the out at the plate, but her throw sailed wide. Moore slid in for the winning run, and the Eagles were able to celebrate an unlikely 4-3 win.

BC (11-17, 3-4 Atlantic Coast) only had one other scoring threat, which came in the third inning. Hamilton walked on four pitches, then took second and third on wild pitches. Wallace put Kristin Giery on base with another walk, and Kennedy Labshere managed to score Hamilton with a high-bouncing ground ball to Visser. Wallace recovered to get the final two outs of the inning, but the Eagles had the early 1-0 lead.

The advantage didn’t last long for BC. Susannah Anderson—who got the start in the circle and had allowed just three hits in the first three innings—quickly ran into trouble in the fourth inning. Bridgette Nordberg started the frame with a sharp single into left field, before Skylar Johnston worked a four-pitch walk. N.C. State (17-15, 0-7 Atlantic Coast) first baseman Randi Farricker stepped to the plate and wasted no time driving them in, sending the first pitch she saw over the fence for a three-run home run to put the Wolfpack on top.

Anderson was pulled two batters later for Camryn Dolby after allowing a single to Natalie Jones. The freshman was excellent in relief, striking out Visser to end the threat. She would pitch the rest of the game for the Eagles, striking out seven and allowing just one hit in 3 1/3 innings.

Dolby’s strong pitching looked like it was going to go to waste, as BC continued to struggle to find offense. Labshere gained first base, thanks to a fielding error from Visser to lead off the sixth, but Carlie Sanders entered the game to pinch-run and was promptly thrown out trying to steal second. Somehow, though, the bats finally woke up after Dolby struck out the side in the top of the seventh, and the Eagles started off the weekend on the right foot.

The win marks the third time in the past month that BC has scored the winning run in the seventh inning or later, so it’s certainly fair to say that the Eagles have a penchant for late drama. However, it’s also fair to say that BC still needs to find more consistency on offense. The Eagles are one of just two ACC teams that have scored under 100 runs this season. The pitching tandem of freshmen Dolby and Anderson has been solid after a shaky start to the season, so if BC is able to find a way to have more innings like the seventh frame of Friday’s game, the Eagles should be in good position to continue to win games.

Featured Image by Delaney Vorwick / For The Heights

March 31, 2019