Softball, Sports, Spring

Eagles Pitching Struggles With Command in Blowout Loss to No. 24 Hokies

League play has not been kind to Boston College softball’s lineup. Since the beginning of ACC slate, the Eagles have posted the worst batting average among conference teams and have scored the second fewest runs. Friday against Virginia Tech was more of the same for BC.

In the first game of the weekend series against the No. 24 Hokies, the Eagles managed just five hits and eight total baserunners. Meanwhile, VTech had no such problems, scoring early and often in a 10-2 blowout of BC.

The Hokies (41-8, 18-4 Atlantic Coast) were disciplined in the batter’s box early, taking advantage of some control issues from Susannah Anderson by working three straight walks to begin the game. A wild pitch from the Eagles’ (15-30, 4-15) freshman pitcher scored the first run of the game, before Emma Strouth stroked a single into left field to double the VTech lead.

Seeking to limit the damage, BC head coach Ashley Obrest pulled Anderson and replaced her with Camryn Dolby, but the Eagles’ struggles finding the strike zone continued. Jayme Bailey reached base on a fielder’s choice, Strouth crossed home plate thanks to another wild pitch, then Meredith Slaw came up with an RBI single of her own to plate the Hokies’ fourth run of the inning. Luckily for BC, the inning also ended there, as Lexi DiEmmanuele threw out Bailey, who was stretching for home on the play.

DiEmmanuele was also the Eagles’ most effective offensive player, going 3-for-3 at the plate. She led off the game with an infield single, but Keely Rochard, VTech’s starter, bounced back to record three straight outs and end the inning.

BC wouldn’t break through offensively until the fourth inning. Allyson Moore walked with one out, and Gianna Randazza followed with a base on balls to give the Eagles multiple base runners for the first time all game. Jenna Ergle made the opportunity count, lacing a double into center field to drive in both runners and get BC on the board.

By that time, though, VTech had already gained an insurmountable lead. A sacrifice fly from Slaw, coupled with a two-run single from Al Velasquez, tacked on three more runs for the Hokies in the third. Ergle’s two-run double narrowed the Eagles deficit to just 7-2, and they never got closer than that.

Consecutive base hits from Caitlyn Nolan and Strouth drove in runs to keep the VTech offense rolling. Kendra Friedt entered the game, fresh off a stellar performance against Holy Cross, and got the final two outs of the sixth inning, but gave up a sacrifice fly to Velasquez that put the Hokies up 10-2. All told, VTech racked up 10 runs on eight hits, while also drawing 10 walks on the day.

Randazza reached on an error from Nolan in the bottom of the frame with two outs, and Ergle moved her over with a line-drive single into right-center field. Rochard, who notched the win and improved to 19-3 on the season, ended the threat by inducing a Carlie Sanders groundout to shortstop. The failed rally also meant the end of the game one inning early, due to the run rule.

There’s no shame in losing to the No. 24 team in the country, but the defeat once again demonstrates BC’s inconsistency this season. The Eagles are capable of solid offensive performances—as evidenced by wins over Syracuse, N.C. State, and Louisville—in addition to excellent outings in the circle, but have rarely been able to put the two together. With just seven regular season games left, it’s difficult for BC fans to assume that anything will change.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff

April 27, 2019