Just three days ago, Boston College softball gave up a 3–2 lead in the sixth inning of its game against North Carolina and subsequently fell to the Tar Heels 8–3.
On Tuesday at Harrington Athletics Village, the Eagles (16–14, 1–5 Atlantic Coast) gave up another lead, this time a 5–3 advantage against UMass Amherst (9–17, 1–5 Atlantic 10) in the top of the seventh inning. Pitcher Abby Dunning walked two batters, but then the UMass’ Jules Shields stepped up to the plate and launched a three-run home run over the left center wall, giving UMass a 6–5 lead and the eventual victory, handing BC another loss in a game in which it blew its lead.
“It’s all again about execution,” BC head coach Amy Kvilhaug said. “We just haven’t been able to get it together the last few games.”
UMass struck first in the top of the first inning, with Shields hitting an RBI double into the left center gap, giving the Minutewomen an early 1–0 lead. Starting pitcher Sofia Earle appeared shaky at times, but managed to reach the fourth inning without allowing any more runs. But Bella Pantoja’s triple early in the inning triggered a pitching change, with Kvilhaug pulling Earle in favor of Dunning.
“Typically when Sofia is on they’re swinging and missing quite a lot, and we weren’t getting many swings and misses,” Kvilhaug said, “I just wanted to go to Dunning who’s been throwing really well.”
Dunning’s first pitch was a wild one, which allowed Pantoja to score to put UMass ahead 2–0. But she managed to escape the inning relatively unscathed with a strikeout and a lineout to end the inning.
The bottom of the fourth, however, was all BC. Abigail Knight started the rally with a single up the middle, and Nicole Giery followed up with a single to left field to put Knight on second. Kamryn Warman then stepped up to the plate and drove Knight in with a single to deep center field, cutting UMass’ lead to one.
Meghan Schouten ripped a single to left field, driving home Giery and advancing pinch runner Alexis Dale to second, causing UMass to pull pitcher Jessie DiPasquale in favor of Natalee Horton. But it didn’t make much of a difference, as Maddy Carpe, the next batter, singled down the third base line, sending Dale home and Schouten to third. Carpe went on to steal second, and an overthrown ball allowed Schouten to get home, capping off a four-run inning and putting BC up 4–2.
“I think today, coming in with a plan, knowing what they had to do helped to execute to bring some runs across, we scored more runs than we have, so that’s a positive,” Kvilhaug said.
In the top of the fifth inning, Giana Wameling singled, and after a wild pitch by Dunning, Wameling advanced to second. Shields continued to shine, as she sent Wameling home after smacking a double to left field, cutting BC’s lead to one.
BC, however, responded in the bottom of the inning as Knight slammed one deep off the right field wall for a triple. Knight then tagged up and scored when Warman popped a flyout to center field to give BC a 5–3 lead, an advantage it would hold until the very last inning.
After Shields’ home run put BC down 6–5 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Eagles appeared to have hope when Horton consecutively walked Knight and Hannah Slike. But Horton regained her composure and struck out the next two batters, leaving Schouten with a chance to win the game with two outs.
But on the 2–2 pitch, Schouten grounded out to third base, leaving the Eagles with their third straight loss.