If the softball season ended before Boston College softball took on Notre Dame at Harrington Athletics Village on Friday, the Eagles would have finished with two ACC wins—just one more than BC notched in its shortened season in 2020.
But the Eagles (21–22, 3–13 Atlantic Coast) moved a step in the right direction in terms of conference play on Friday, as they scored all four of their runs in the first inning against Notre Dame (27–13–1, 9–9–1). Starting pitcher Abby Dunning also pitched a complete game, recording six strikeouts to limit the Fighting Irish to one run in BC’s 4–1 victory, its third ACC win of the season.
“It starts with Abby Dunning,” BC head coach Amy Kvilhaug said. “I mean in the circle, and I thought that she did a really good job. I thought Abby was the catalyst for holding the lead and our defense did a good job behind her.”
Dunning initially struggled to find the zone in the top of the first inning, but BC had two solid defensive plays to get the first two outs. A pop fly to first baseman Meghan Schouten ended the inning scoreless despite the Fighting Irish loading the bases.
Aleyah Terrell hit a triple for the Eagles in the bottom of the inning, her first of the season. Nicole Giery then hit a fly out to bring Terrell home to put BC ahead 1–0.
BC didn’t stop there, as Abigail Knight reached first base on a throwing error. Consecutive fly outs handed the Eagles two outs, but Schouten subsequently blasted a three-run homer to give BC a 4–0 lead after one inning.
“That’s a freshman who hit that, and I mean tonight was a tough night to hit it out with the wind blowing in,” Kvilhaug said. “Aleyah starting the inning off with a triple, and then Meg, coming up big.”
Notre Dame’s Macie Eck hit a leadoff single to start the top second, who then stole second base on a defensive error, allowing Joley Mitchell to rip a single to give the Fighting Irish its first run of the game.
Dunning’s third walk of the game loaded the bases, but she forced a ground out to keep the score at 4–1.
The sophomore started to find her groove in the third inning, as she forced two more quick groundouts—both to second baseman Gianna Sarlo. Dunning then recorded her first strikeout of the night against Eck, who went down swinging to end the inning.
BC put two runners on base in the bottom of the fourth inning, with Schouten hitting a leadoff single and Kali Case following with a single of her own, helped by clumsy Notre Dame fielding. But the Eagles failed to capitalize as Terrell lined out to third base, and the fourth inning ended scoreless.
The fifth inning started with back-to-back walks by Dunning. Case prevented any further damage by laying out for the out. Dunning then struck out Payton Tidd and Eck to strand two bases and sustain the Eagle’s lead.
Notre Dame’s final chance to even the score started off strong in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Mitchell notched a single to start the inning. A walk put two runners on base, but Dunning held strong with a strikeout to Leea Hanks. But catcher Maddy Carpe then caught a fly out to secure the Eagle’s victory.
“This was really important for her [Dunning] and I’m really happy to see her get the win,” Kvilhaug said.