Sports, Spring, Softball

Eagles Struggle Offensively in Senior Day Loss to Virginia Tech

In the bottom of the first inning of Boston College softball’s Senior Day contest against Virginia Tech, Emme Martinez lined a single into right field to score Jenna Ergle and give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. The play marked the first time all series that BC had held a lead against the No. 24 Hokies and gave hope that the Eagles would be able to end the weekend with a win on Senior Day.

Much like the first two games of the series, though, BC’s pitching simply couldn’t quiet the Hokies’ bats. VTech exploded for five runs in the third inning and never looked back, finishing off a sweep of the Eagles with an 8-1 win.

BC (16-32, 4-17 Atlantic Coast) turned to C.C. Cook—who made just her third start of the season—to try and slow down a Hokies (43-8, 20-4) lineup that had racked up 20 runs in the first two games of the weekend series. It seemed like a tall task, but the sophomore was effective to begin the game.

She worked around two walks and a double from Cana Davis to keep BC ahead for the first two innings, but ran into trouble quickly in a disastrous third. Darby Trull legged out an infield single to begin the inning, and Caitlyn Nolan quickly plated her by depositing a home run over the left-center field fence. The VTech bats didn’t stop there, though, as Emma Strouth worked a walk on a full count, before advancing to second on another infield single from Kelsey Bennett. Friedt compounded the problem by hitting Mackenzie Lawter to load the bases.

A well-executed double play got Strouth on a forceout at home and gave Cook a chance to limit the damage. Instead, Davis notched her second hit of the game in emphatic fashion, crushing a 1-1 pitch for a home run to center field to extend the Hokies edge to 5-1.

In the aftermath of the big fly, Eagles head coach Ashley Obrest replaced Cook with Camryn Dolby, and the freshman got the last out of the inning. Dolby pitched two innings in relief, allowing two hits and one run, issuing a four-pitch bases-loaded walk to Lawter in the fourth inning.

Lawter would also account for VTech’s final two runs, hitting the Hokies’ third home run of the game in the sixth inning. But it wouldn’t matter much. After VTech’s five-run explosion in the third inning, BC notched just two hits—a Martinez single to right in the fourth, and a one-out double from Lexi DiEmmanuele in the fifth. DiEmmanuele was stranded at third after Keely Rochard—who finished off the game for the Hokies with three scoreless innings of relief—struck out Jenna Ergle, ending the Eagles’ final serious threat.

BC would go down in order in the final two innings, while Susannah Anderson finished off the game in the circle for the Eagles, getting all three outs of the sixth after Lawter’s big fly and pitching a scoreless seventh.

The loss means that BC has now won one or fewer games in each of its last five ACC weekend series. What’s more, it’s difficult to diagnose exactly what the Eagles’ issue is. BC has been plagued by both inconsistent hitting, and a pitching staff that has struggled at times to adjust to the ACC’s excellent offenses.

The youth of the team certainly has something to do with that—the Eagles honored just four seniors Sunday and have 10 freshmen (including Anderson and Dolby, the two pitchers with the most starts on the team) on their roster. BC fans can look to that as a reason for optimism, but for now that means the Eagles will likely go through plenty of growing pains. The latest sweep at the hands of another ranked ACC foe was just the latest of those pains.  

Featured Image by Kayla Brandt / Heights Staff

April 28, 2019