Sports, Spring, Softball

Martinez’s Eighth-Inning Double Lifts Eagles Past UConn

Several times during her first two years on the Heights, Boston College softball sophomore Emme Martinez has proven that she isn’t fazed by the biggest moments of the game. On March 22, she hit a walkoff single to lift the Eagles past visiting Syracuse. Then, a week later—with her team hitless against North Carolina State through seven innings—she broke up the no-hit bid with a single and launched a come-from-behind victory.

So, with a runner on second in the top of the eighth inning against Connecticut in a tie game with two outs, it’s no surprise that Martinez once again came through in the clutch. The third baseman, albeit 0-for-4 with a strikeout on the day, took two pitches, fouled one off, then drove in the eventual game-winning run with a double to center field in a 5-4 extra innings victory for BC.

The Eagles (12-23, 3-9 Atlantic Coast) snapped a season-worst six-game losing streak with the much-needed win. The Huskies (15-21) tied the game on four separate occasions—in the first, the fourth, the fifth, and the seventh—but were unable to complete one last rally. BC starter Susannah Anderson went the distance, eventually stranding the tying runner on second base in the bottom of the eighth.

Anderson, who had been handed a loss in three of her last four appearances, bounced back with a career-high eight innings. The freshman allowed eight-plus hits for the second outing in a row, but largely worked out of trouble and held UConn to four runs, three earned, while walking five and striking out four.

She was handed a lead four separate times, but struggled against a pesky Huskies lineup at times. After teammate Jenna Ergle was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the first inning to bring a run in, Anderson gave it right back when UConn came up to bat. After giving up singles to two of her first three batters, she loaded the bases with a walk before giving up a sacrifice fly to Olivia Sappington. Anderson escaped further damage, though, inducing an inning-ending groundout.

BC quickly rallied to its pitcher’s side, getting another run off of Huskies starter Jill Stockley in the second. Stockley would last just three innings, needing 72 pitches and failing to get excellent support from the defense behind her. The second run—and second unearned run—charged to her was the product of an error by third baseman Carli Cutler, allowing BC’s Gianna Randazza to trot home safely.

Anderson worked two scoreless innings before the Huskies erased the slim 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the fourth, Sappington took the first pitch she saw from the freshman and deposited it beyond the center field fence for her third home run of the year. The home run bug would bite Anderson again in the bottom of the fifth. After BC took a 3-2 lead on a sacrifice fly from Ergle, UConn’s Briana Marcelino tied the game with a blast to left field.

Huskies’ reliever Marybeth Olson recovered by throwing a scoreless sixth, but again the Eagles took a one-run lead. This time, in the top of the seventh, it was freshman Ellie Mataya who stepped up, lacing a one-out single to right center to bring in a run. BC couldn’t plate another run—despite having runners on the corners with one outs—which set up yet another UConn rally. The Huskies forced extras on the strength of an error and a double, with the latter coming off the bat of Alexis Lemus as her team was down to their final out.

While it was a frustrating win for the Eagles—they left 10 runners on base and still needed extras to beat a Huskies team that committed five errors—it was still a win. BC was in desperate need of some form of momentum after being thoroughly swept over the weekend by Notre Dame, and with Anderson and clutch hitting from Martinez leading the way, the Eagles might’ve found some. BC is a youthful team subject to the twists and turns you’d expect from a freshman-heavy bunch, but it still has four weekends left to try to gel behind the leadership of a sophomore at the plate and the gutsiness of a first-year on the mound.

Featured Image by Kayla Brandt / For The Heights

April 10, 2019