Boston College softball’s level of competitiveness has been fairly easy to predict this season based on its starting pitcher. When Susannah Anderson commands the circle, the Eagles have a good shot. When it’s anybody else, the road to victory is not so easy.
This trend held true again for the Eagles on Saturday afternoon. While BC (6-18, 2-11 Atlantic Coast) ultimately fell 2-1 to Virginia (11-18, 7-14) in extra innings, handing the Eagles the series loss, Anderson put on a staggering performance as she went the distance in the near 12-inning affair.
Her 148-pitch outing came to an abrupt end when, after Virginia loaded the bases off a pair of singles and a hit batsman, Arizona Ritchie grounded up the middle and off the glove of second baseman Nicole Giery. Leah Boggs scampered home, bringing a close to the almost three-and-a-half-hour game.
With Saturday’s performance, Anderson finished the four-game series with a total of 24.1 innings and 331 pitches thrown. She allowed just 16 hits and five runs across the three complete games, dropping her ERA on the season to 2.55.
Her 11.1 innings pitched marked the fourth-longest single-game total in BC history, and the outing was the longest BC softball game in over three years.
BC got on the board first in the third inning, when Giery smacked a double and brought home CC Cook. Emme Martinez then walked, giving the Eagles a prime opportunity to add to their lead with just one out, but the next two batters went down quietly to end the threat.
The Cavaliers also threatened in the third, as a walk and more poor fielding by Giery gave Virginia runners on second and third. Anderson returned to her usual dominant form right on time, however, sending the next two batters back to the dugout to close out the inning.
The next two innings passed quietly, until the Cavaliers leveled the score in the sixth off a single from cleanup hitter Tori Gilbert.
Virginia starter Aly Rayle may not have gone the distance like Anderson, but she was still a force, striking out nine over 6.1 innings. She was replaced by Mikayla Houge, who went the rest of the way and picked up the win.
While BC failed to muster any offense in the final frames, the Eagles’ impressive defense ensured that the game went to extra innings. In the eighth, right fielder Jenna Ergle made a snag on the run to rob Ritchie of a hit.
The Cavaliers showed signs of a rally in the bottom of the ninth with a leadoff single from Ashley Jennings, but the Eagles’ defense stepped up again as catcher Gianna Boccagno immediately snuffed out the threat by picking her off.
BC had a prime chance to take the lead in the top of the ninth as Maddy Carpe reached on an error, pinch hitter Kamryn Warman singled, and Ellie Mataya walked. Giery’s struggles continued however, and she flied out to end the frame.
While the Eagles seemed poised to end the game before the number of innings reached double digits, Virginia had no answers against Anderson in its first four frames of extra innings. The Cavaliers notched just one hit across the four innings, and Anderson registered a trio of strikeouts.
The Eagles’ struggles between the eighth and the 11th ultimately proved irrelevant, as BC’s opportunities dried up and the Cavaliers finally spoiled Anderson’s great day in the 12th.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor