When Boston College softball plays a nationally ranked opponent, runs have historically been hard to produce. For the second time this season, the Eagles faced a top-25 program, and after being shut out on Friday by the Clemson pitching staff, BC looked for its first run, and first win, of the series.
With a cumulative 115 innings pitched on the season, it was no surprise for Susannah Anderson to start in the circle for the Eagles. After struggling in Friday’s outing, Anderson aimed to come back stronger for the second game on Saturday, but the Tigers (30-4, 20-4 Atlantic Coast) lit up on offense to hold off BC (8-23, 4-15) and secure a 10-2 win.
The Tigers scored first without the ball ever leaving the infield. Three infield singles coupled with an error gave Clemson the lead in the first, and the Tigers plated three more in the inning.
Even though the game did not start in BC’s favor, the team was resilient in attempting to keep the score close. Back-to-back singles by Gianna Randazza and Nicole Giery gave the Eagles a chance to score in the second, but Clemson’s pitcher Millie Thompson retired the rest of the side to get out of the inning unscathed.
Once again the Eagles threatened in the third inning with runners on the corners, but a baserunning mistake left the Eagles without a run.
With the Clemson infield playing at normal depth, a ground ball to second base from Emme Martinez should have been enough to score a runner of any speed from third. But Erika Andal, one of the fastest runners in the BC lineup, made a crucial error by not attempting to score from third on the play, which would have proved costly had the final score been closer.
After 10 innings across two games without a run, BC finally got on the board via a solo shot from Gianna Boccagno. While BC has only 11 home runs on the season, four of those have come from the starting catcher.
Two consecutive clean defensive innings were all the Eagles could secure before Clemson put together an offensive drive in the fourth inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, a bases-clearing double forced BC head coach Amy Kvilhaug to utilize her bullpen with CC Cook in relief of Anderson.
After a wild pitch and two walks, Cook ended the fourth for the Eagles, but Clemson had pushed its lead to six runs, and the Eagles were in danger of being run-ruled.
BC bounced back to score again in the sixth inning. A leadoff double by Kristin Giery once again gave the offense a runner in scoring position, and this time the Eagles succeeded in plating a run. A sacrifice fly from Nicole scored her sister, but one run was all the Eagles could pull out of it.
The sixth inning proved to be costly for Cook, as she struggled to find the strike zone. Of the 14 batters faced, she walked five and hit one, and a few wild pitches allowed the Clemson offense to take bases at will.
On a pinch hit, two-RBI single from Morgan Johnson, Clemson was suddenly one run away from ending the game an inning early. Johnson has had an impressive season, as she has hit four home runs as a pinch hitter and leads the Clemson offense in slugging percentage by a wide margin.
After two walks once again loaded the bases for Clemson, Kvilhaug put Randazza in the circle to get out of the inning for the BC defense. A senior, Randazza has seen almost all of her playing time in the outfield, but she has come in relief for the Eagles once this season.
Against Virginia, Randazza pitched a perfect inning in relief, but she was unable to repeat her success against Clemson. She produced a shallow fly ball to right-center, but that was enough for the runner to score from third and end the game.
While the Eagles lost by a wide margin in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, they nearly matched Clemson in hits, with seven hits from the visiting team and nine for the victorious Tigers. Walks were the Eagles’ Achilles’ heel, as they gave seven free passes compared to Thompson’s clean slate, as she did not walk a batter in her six innings of work.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor