Despite garnering over twenty-five losses this season, Boston College softball has been able to keep games relatively close, only losing by the run-rule four times this season.
Until Friday evening in Louisville, Ky., when the Eagles (21–26, 3–16 Atlantic Coast) fell to Louisville (33–14, 14–4) 10–2 in their fifth run-rule defeat of the season and their second in a row after losing to Boston University 11–0 on Tuesday. The Cardinals earned their seventh straight victory to extend BC’s losing streak to three games after the Eagles’ pitching collapsed in the bottom of the fifth inning, letting up six runs.
“I think we need to do a better job in the circle,” BC head coach Amy Kvilhaug said. “Our pitching has been quality all season long so I believe we can do it. We need to get ahead early by pounding the zone, which we didn’t do [Friday]. Falling behind in too many counts can be lethal against one of the top hitting teams in the league.”
The Eagles got on the board first in the series opener, taking a 1–0 lead in the first inning. It started when Nicole Giery got on base with a single, which was followed with an Abigail Knight single and a Hannah Slike ground-out. Meghan Schouten then hit a hard ground-out to shortstop to bring home Giery and give BC the lead.
But Louisville responded in the bottom of the first inning. Daisy Hess launched a double to right field to score Easton Lotus and tie the game.
BC took the lead again in the top of the third inning, with Slike—who leads BC in home runs with seven on the year—blasting a solo home run to left field. But again, the Cardinals responded, as Taylor Roby hit a home run of her own to tie the game at two apiece.
Hannah File sent a fly ball to left center to score Sarah Gordon, giving Louisville a 3–2 lead—a lead they wouldn’t give up for the rest of the game. Abby Dunning, BC’s starter who gave up eight hits and four walks, was subsequently replaced by Sofia Earle.
BC managed to execute a double play to end the inning without giving up another run.
“Our defense, and specifically our [outfield] did a nice job in the game so we need to continue that trajectory,” Kvilhaug said.
The Cardinals broke the game open in the fifth inning, scoring six runs. File started the barrage, hitting a two-run home run to extend Louisville’s lead to 5–2. After an Earle walk, Kobe Otis notched a single to score two runs, the second a result of a Kali Case throwing error. Lotus then
ripped a triple to bring home another run for Louisville, causing Dunning to come back into the game for Earle.
The Cardinals then increased their lead to 9–2 as Gordon doubled to left center to bring home Lotus.
BC was unable to stage a comeback in the top of the sixth inning, garnering three quick outs, making it three straight scoreless innings for the Eagles in which they only recorded one hit during that span.
“We must play our best softball,” Kvilhaug said. “The athletes know and understand this. It will start in the circle but our offense also has to step up and score more runs than we are currently averaging.”
Louisville’s bats continued to roll to close out the game, as File singled to get the game-ending run on base in the bottom of the sixth inning. Ally Alexander then knocked a walk-off single to close out the game, handing the Eagles a 10–2 run-rule loss.
BC’s pitching struggled over the final two innings of the game. Neither Earle or Dunning struck any batters out, and the pair only recorded two strikeouts the entire game.
“Our message is to complete every pitch of the game and have a short term memory,” Kvilhaug said. “We can handle and beat this team. We just need to put the finishing touches on with all aspects of our game.