New England weather can be unpredictable in the spring, especially in the first half of April. That was the case at Harrington Athletics Village on Wednesday afternoon as 40 degree weather deadened the balls in a midweek game between Boston College softball and Merrimack.
Despite the weather, the Eagles (17–17, 1–8 Atlantic Coast) snapped their six-game losing streak behind seven innings of pitching from Abby Dunning and 10 stolen bases, defeating the Warriors (7–17, 4–5 Northeast) 2–1.
“We literally ran away with it,” BC head coach Amy Kvilhaug said. “I feel like we created things by stealing bases and making things happen and we were getting people on. It’s like we just were not getting that key hit. I mean this easily, we easily could have had five, six more runs.”
Dunning started the game with two consecutive 1–2–3 innings, but she got into her first jam of the game in the third inning when she loaded the bases on a walk and a pair of singles. Dunning bore down, though, and struck out Merrimack’s Madison Cerpa to end the inning before the Warriors could cross home plate.
Merrimack’s only run of the game came in the sixth inning. With one out, BC shortstop Nicole Giery could not cleanly field a hit from Merrimack’s Courtney Lanpher, which resulted in a double. Lanpher proceeded to advance to third on a sacrifice fly and took home on a wild pitch to end Dunning’s shutout.
Nevertheless, she finished the game with a 1–2–3 inning and allowed just one run, one walk, and three hits with 11 strikeouts in the win.
“She was great,” Kvilhaug said. “I mean, [playing in bad weather] is tough. It’s tough to get a feel. You know, it’s tough.”
In addition to having a good day on the mound, Dunning’s defense also helped her out. Left fielder Zoe Hines made two diving catches in the contest, one in fair ground and one in foul ground—two important outs that prevented Merrimack from catching up to the Eagles.
“Zoe has been doing that for two weeks now,” Kvilhaug said. “You know, like she has just kind of come into her own. We had a team meeting last week. I talked about just how we wanted to be more scrappy. And so she told me after the meeting that that really stuck with her.”
BC threatened to score throughout the game, but struggled to get runners across, leaving the bases loaded twice. But base-running was the name of the game for the Eagles, and it helped bring in both of their runs.
In the third inning, Kali Case got on base with a single, stole second, advanced to third, and Abigail Knight drove her in with a single.
In the fifth inning, Giery notched BC’s only extra base hit of the afternoon with a double into the gap. She then advanced to third on a Kamryn Warman single and stole home on a double steal with Warman’s pinch runner Alexis Dale, which doubled the Eagles’ lead over the Warriors, making it 2–1—just enough for the win.
“I mean [stealing] will always be our game,” Kvilhaug said. “If we think that there’s a catcher who hasn’t thrown many runners out, we’ll be looking to run, looking to be aggressive.”