Sports, Spring, Softball

Yellow Jackets Fight For Extra-Innings Win In Pitcher’s Duel

Throughout the first three innings of Boston College softball’s Friday matchup with Georgia Tech, neither BC nor the Yellow Jackets could muster any offense. The Eagles recorded a hit in the first and a walk here and there, but both pitchers started the game—for the most part—untouchable. 

In a true pitcher’s duel, the Eagles (15–18, 2–11 Atlantic Coast) played Georgia Tech (26–11, 7–9) through 11 innings on Friday, but despite a strong outing from Susannah Anderson on the mound, the Eagles fell to Georgia Tech 3–1 to kick off the weekend. 

Anderson pitched a near-perfect game through the first three innings—her only fault was hitting one Georgia Tech batter with a pitch in the third—but the Yellow Jackets started their first rally in the fourth inning. 

An error by BC shortstop Zoe Hines sparked the first significant activity on the basepath for either team, and allowed Georgia Tech’s Emma Kauf to reach first. A Georgia Tech runner on first soon became a runner in scoring position with no outs after Anderson surrendered her first walk of the afternoon. The Eagles managed a much-needed double play on the next at-bat, but Kauf still stood on second. 

A hit and another walk loaded the bases with two outs, but for a moment, it looked like Anderson would get out of the jam. She forced a ground ball to shortstop which Hines fielded and sent to first, but the throw pulled first baseman Kennedy Labshere’s foot off the bag. The runner from third crossed home plate, and Georgia Tech had its first run of the afternoon, unearned. Anderson fanned the next batter, but the damage was done. 

The Eagles cracked Georgia Tech pitcher Blake Neleman an inning and a half later. Ellie Mataya led off the inning with a single—her second of the game—and stole second base to reach scoring position. Abigail Knight grounded out to third base for the first out of the inning, but Mataya reached third on the sacrifice. Hannah Slike then stepped up to the plate and sent a soft line drive to right field. Mataya hesitated for a second but tagged up from third and slid into home plate ahead of the throw. 

With the game tied 1–1 in the bottom of the fifth, it seemed like the pitchers’ duel of the first three innings had been broken open. Georgia Tech and BC continued to get runners on base through the game’s next five innings, but thanks to a host of impressive defensive plays, neither team could bring its runners home. 

The two teams combined for 14 total hits. Nearly every other base runner was a result of walks, errors, or hit batters. 

Neleman walked four and hit two Eagles, and Anderson allowed six Georgia Tech batters to reach base on balls while hitting one. Georgia Tech reliever Chandler Dennis recorded three walks. Three BC errors and one by Georgia Tech allowed even more free baserunners. 

After the seventh inning passed with the game still in a stalemate, the game headed to extras. Both pitchers were nearly unhittable and showing no signs of faltering. Dennis entered the game in the 10th to take over for Neleman, but Anderson stayed right where she was, pitching all 11 of the game’s innings and facing 50 batters. 

After scoring just one run through 10 innings, Georgia Tech scored twice that in the 11th. Two walks and a single loaded the bases for Georgia Tech’s Sara Beth Allen. With two outs, Allen got the better of Anderson for the first time all afternoon, reaching base on a single and scoring the runners on first and second. 

The Eagles had their chance to bite back in the bottom of the inning with runners on first and second, but Knight fouled out to the left fielder to end the extra-innings epic.

Featured Image by Nicole Wei / Heights Staff

April 10, 2022