Spring, Softball

Eagles Held Scoreless in Three Straight Games, Swept by No. 1 FSU

Boston College softball continued its conference slate by facing its toughest test of the season, traveling to Tallahassee to take on No. 4 Florida State for a three-game weekend series. Any hope the Eagles had of pulling an upset or two dissipated quickly, though, as BC’s bats were thoroughly quieted by a dominant Seminoles pitching staff. The Eagles (15-28, 4-14 Atlantic Coast) were outscored, 16-0, over the weekend, failing to notch even a single run, and were convincingly swept by top-ranked FSU (41-8, 13-5).  

FSU 4, BC 0 (Sun.)

BC’s weekend offensive struggles came to a fitting conclusion Sunday, as the Eagles were once again held scoreless. This time it was Kathryn Sandercock who got the start in the circle for the Seminoles and took a turn baffling the BC bats. The freshman—who moved to 11-0 on the season—worked all seven innings, allowing just five hits and striking out four in the shutout effort.

The Eagles didn’t manage to get more than one player on base until the fourth inning, when Gianna Boccagno reached first on a fielder’s choice before Jules Trevino lined a single up the middle to give BC runners at first and second with two outs. But, much like the first two games, the Eagles failed to get a hit when it mattered most. Gianna Randazza sent a ground ball to Seminoles shortstop Cali Harrod, ending the inning and the scoring threat.

BC’s best scoring chance of the entire weekend came in the sixth inning. Emme Martinez singled on a 1-0 count to lead off the inning, and Boccagno laced a double into the gap in right center field. Britney Richardson, who was tabbed as a pinch runner for Martinez, attempted to score on the play, but was thrown out at home on the play. Trevino struck out to end the frame, and the Eagles came out of the inning without any runs again.

FSU, meanwhile, was locked in offensively to start. Harrod led off the bottom of the first by working a seven-pitch walk, and Carsyn Gordon brought her home on the next pitch with a double into the gap in left center field. Gordon would come around to score, thanks to a fielding error from Ellie Mataya before Camryn Dolby—who started the game for the Eagles but pitched just one inning—rallied to force two groundouts and end the frame.

The Seminoles tacked on two more runs the very next inning, as Sydney Sherrill’s RBI double scored a pair of runs to increase their lead to 4-0. Other than that, though, Susannah Anderson—who relieved Dolby and pitched five innings while allowing just two runs—was solid in relief, working her way around three walks to keep FSU from breaking the game open further. It wouldn’t matter in the end, though, as Kennedy Labshere grounded into a double play to finish off a winless Eagles weekend.

FSU 7, BC 0 (Sat.)

On Saturday, BC’s offense was once again nonexistent. A lights-out performance from Makinzy Herzog, who allowed just three hits in six innings, ensured that the Eagles were shut out for the second consecutive game. Meanwhile, FSU had no such problems at the plate, starting the game off hot.

After BC went down in order to begin the game, Harrod led off the bottom of the first with a single for the Seminoles and stole second base. After a groundout advanced the FSU shortstop to third, Sydney Sherrill lined the first pitch she saw back up the middle for an RBI single, driving in the first run of the game.

The Seminoles’ offense didn’t stop there, as Anderson—who started for the second consecutive game—hit the next batter and Dani Morgan punched a base hit into right field to score Sherrill. Zoe Casas drove in another run with a deep fly ball to center, and Mason came around to score, after Martinez attempted to throw her out advancing to third base. Anderson recovered to get the final out of the inning, but the damage was already done and FSU had a commanding 4-0 advantage.

Anderson settled down well after the disastrous first frame, allowing just one hit over the next three innings, but couldn’t get any help from the Eagles offense. BC strung together consecutive singles from Martinez and Allyson Moore with one out in the fourth inning, but Boccagno popped the first pitch she saw straight to Seminoles third baseman Benavides, and Ellie Mataya grounded out to Herzog to kill the rally.

The Eagles’ last scoring threat came in the next inning, as Carlie Sanders worked a walk on a full count, before Randazza lined a single into left to put runners on first and second with no outs. Labshere tried to bunt both runners over, but popped her attempt straight up for an out instead. Trevino did a much better job, advancing both runners, but Lexi DiEmmanuele couldn’t provide a crucial base hit. She hit a ground ball straight to Herzog, thwarting a BC threat for the second straight frame.

FSU made the Eagles pay for missing their opportunities in the bottom of the fifth, as home runs from Savannah Parker and Gordon chased Anderson. The freshman—who took the loss for the second straight game—pitched 4 1/3 innings, conceding six hits and six runs while striking out just one. C.C. Cook finished the game, allowing a run after walking two batters and giving up an RBI single to Casas.

BC managed just one baserunner in the final two innings, as Moore reached first base in the sixth after being clipped by a pitch, but the Eagles’ offense failed to move her along, and BC went down in order in the seventh to close out the contest.

FSU 5, BC 0 (Fri.)

The beginning of the weekend was a hint of what was to come for the Eagles at the plate. BC managed just four hits and five total baserunners, as the Seminoles’ Meghan King pitched a complete game shutout.

Anderson, who faced the tall task of trying to outduel King, pitched reasonably well—giving up five runs on five hits in five innings—but couldn’t completely quiet a prolific Seminoles attack, which entered the series with the most runs scored in the ACC. It didn’t take long for FSU to get to her either. Anderson retired the first two batters of the game, but Sherrill jumped on a 3-1 pitch and deposited it over the fence in left-center field to give the Seminoles an early 1-0 lead.

The second inning saw FSU increase its advantage after Herzog reached base on a fielder’s choice, stole second, and advanced to third on an error. The Seminoles left fielder came around to score moments later, as Anna Shelnutt rolled a single into left, notching an RBI and doubling the FSU lead in the process.

Anderson recovered to pitch a spotless third, giving the Eagles ample opportunity to climb back into the game, but BC’s bats simply couldn’t get anything going. The Eagles’ biggest threat came in the fourth inning, as Boccagno drew a walk and Mataya singled to left field, but King got Gianna Randazza and Carly Severini to strike out swinging, ending the rally.

The Seminoles added another unearned run in the fourth inning, when a throwing error from DiEmmanuele put Elizabeth Mason on second base. She would score on a single from Zoe Casas, although Anderson whiffed Shelnutt and induced a groundout to escape the inning.

FSU would score twice more in the sixth, courtesy of RBIs from Herzog and Cassidy Davis, but King made sure the extra runs weren’t needed. She struck out the last six BC hitters she faced, putting the finishing touches on a fantastic performance and a series-opening win for the Seminoles. The redshirt senior, who is now 21-5 on the season, finished with 13 strikeouts.

The series against FSU was eerily similar to the Eagles’ three-game set against North Carolina in March, in which BC managed just one total run and left Chapel Hill victims of a sweep. Both series are illustrative of the fact that the Eagles—still a young team with just five upperclassmen—have yet to figure out how to win consistently in the ACC, especially in the batters box. BC now has the second lowest team batting average in the conference, and has scored the fewest runs in the conference. Until one or more bats start producing consistently, it’s tough to see the Eagles manufacturing a string of wins before the end of the season.

Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Editor

April 22, 2019