Sports, Spring, Softball

Walk-Off Homer Puts Wolfpack Over Eagles

Boston College softball pitcher Susannah Anderson pitched nearly a complete game. Through six innings, she held on tight to a narrow BC lead. But the key word is “nearly.” Two back-to-back, seventh-inning home runs for NC State was all it took for the Wolfpack to level heartbreak on Anderson and the Eagles.

BC (2-7, 1-4 Atlantic Coast) fended off the high-powered NC State (4-1) until the very last moment. Sam Gress stepped up to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and one runner on base. With two strikes on the count, Gress went yard for the game-tying, two-run homer. Sam Russ then blasted a solo shot for the game winner and the Wolfpack’s third run of the inning to take home a 7-6 win over the Eagles.

Saturday’s loss was the final matchup in a three-game series over the course of three days. BC took home the first win on Wednesday, but by the end of the series, the Eagles lost energy while NC State stayed hot. NC State scored six of its seven runs in the second half of Saturday’s game by capitalizing on the Eagles’ low energy.

In the bottom of the sixth, with bases loaded and no outs, Anderson bailed the Eagles out to end the inning. Then came the Eagles’ heartbreaking collapse in the seventh. Anderson pitched her second complete game of the series with 10 strikeouts and only three walks. So far in the young season, Anderson has recorded 36 strikeouts and 27 walks. 

Despite NC State changing its pitcher twice to prevent the Eagles from getting comfortable at the plate, BC’s six runs were the most its put up in a single game this season. The Eagles recorded eight hits while the Wolfpack had nine. 

Ellie Mataya, BC’s leadoff hitter, was a key player for the Eagles’ offense on Saturday. In four at-bats, she registered three hits, two of which were RBIs, and one walk. Mataya finished the game with 1.55 on-base plus slugging percentage. 

BC broke through the surface in the top of the fifth with three runs, two of which were unearned due to errors by the Wolfpack’s pitcher-catcher duo. Nicole Giery, Jenna Ergle, and Djhane Valido scored in the fifth, but Giery and Erika Andal led the Eagles in runs with two each. 

If the Wolfpack did not make as many errors in the top of the fifth, a controversial call by the umpire would not have made as much of a difference as it did. With the bases loaded, NC State’s Carson Shaner reached on a fielder’s choice, giving Angie Rizzi an opportunity to score. The umpire signalled Rizzi out at home, stopping the Wolfpack on a great scoring opportunity. Even so, NC State recorded two runs in the fifth inning to cut its deficit to three.

In addition to NC State’s two homers in the seventh inning, Anderson also gave up another home run in the second inning to Randi Farricker. Anderson has only allowed six home runs so far this season, but three of them came from today’s game alone. 

Featured Image Courtesy of BC Athletics

February 20, 2021

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