Coming off Friday’s victory against Notre Dame, Boston College softball had the opportunity to do something it had not done all season on Saturday—win an ACC series. Of the 13 teams in the ACC, BC was the only team that had not earned a series victory within the conference. A win in either of Saturday’s games would have done the job.
Despite a comeback effort late in the second game of Saturday afternoon’s doubleheader, the Eagles came up short of accomplishing the feat.
BC (21–24, 3–15 Atlantic Coast) combined for just five runs in both games of the doubleheader to drop both contests to the Fighting Irish (29–13–1, 11–9–1) and losing its sixth ACC series of the season. Notre Dame defeated the Eagles 5–2 in the first game of the twin bill and 6–3 in the second game at Harrington Athletics Village.
“We’ve been right there,” BC head coach Amy Kvilhaug said of BC’s recent stretch. “We’ve been right in it, but, you know, just falling short.”
In the rubber match, the Eagles got out to a fast start, taking a quick 1–0 lead in the first inning. Abigail Knight hit a one-out double and later came around to score on a Meghan Schouten RBI single. The run marked BC’s first lead of the entire afternoon.
Notre Dame, however, wore down BC starting pitcher Abby Dunning in the third inning. With two outs and a runner on second, Karina Gaskins doubled to center field to knot the score at one apiece. The next batter, Lexi Orozco, reached base on a throwing error by Knight, allowing another run to cross the plate. Leea Hanks singled home another run to cap off the two-out rally with a 3–1 lead.
BC had a prime opportunity to cut into the 3–1 deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning when it had the bases loaded and nobody out. Hannah Slike immediately delivered by singling to left field to make it 3–2, but that was all the Eagles did in the inning.
Notre Dame starter Payton Tidd escaped the bases-loaded threat with just one allowed run by striking out the next two BC hitters and forcing Zoe Hines to foul out.
“That’s not taking advantage of the opportunities that you’re given,” Kvilhaug said of BC’s performance in the fifth inning. “So that was definitely a disappointment.”
The Eagles continued to have good at-bats in the sixth inning, too. Maddy Carpe led off with a double and later came around to score on a Nicole Giery sacrifice fly to even the score at 3–3. It looked like BC was going to tack on some more runs, but Knight struck out looking to strand one runner in scoring position to end the frame.
“We expect more from our players than that, especially some of the people in the middle of our lineup,” Kvilhaug said.
Just a half inning later, however, the Fighting Irish delivered the decisive blow. With two runners on and one out, Joley Mitchell crushed a ball over the center field fence to give Notre Dame a 6–3 advantage. Dunning appeared to run out of gas, and Mitchell capitalized.
The Eagles failed to rally in the bottom half of the seventh inning and dropped the series finale. Tidd recorded her 15th victory of the season for Notre Dame.
In the afternoon’s first matchup, Notre Dame starting pitcher Micaela Kastor was dominant. The freshman mowed down BC’s lineup for much of the game, tossing six innings of one-hit ball until running into some trouble in the seventh inning.
“She was just moving the ball around really well,” Kvilhaug said. “She did it with some really good velocity, you know, I thought she just had good stuff.”
BC starter Susannah Anderson attempted to match Kastor’s dominance and posted four shutout innings of her own until the Fighting Irish’s bats woke up in the fifth inning. Notre Dame posted five runs in the pivotal frame to take a 5–0 lead.
Notre Dame’s first five batters all reached base and scored in the top of the fifth, capped off by an Orozco grand slam. With two strikes on her, Orozco unloaded on a pitch and smacked it off the scoreboard deep in left field.
Down to their final three outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Eagles finally created some traffic on the basepath. Four consecutive singles to lead off the frame by Knight, Slike, Schouten, and Kamryn Warman helped BC score its first run of the game to make it 5–1.
“We’ve had the fight,” Kvilhaug said. “We’ve fought back in so many more of the games [this season].”
Shannon Becker relieved Kastor after BC scored and limited further damage, allowing just one runner to score on a bases-loaded walk. Becker induced a groundout from Aleyah Terrell to end the game and give the Fighting Irish the 5–2 win.