Sports, Spring, Softball

Eagles Opens 2024 Season with 2–0 Win Over Florida Gulf Coast

On Thursday, Boston College softball opened up its 2024 season with a defensive masterclass, shutting out Florida Gulf Coast University in a battle of the Eagles.

The Eagles (1–0) shutout FGCU (0–1) 2–0 on the back of Abby Dunning who pitched all seven innings and totaled 12 strikeouts while only allowing three hits. Junior catcher Hannah Slike drove in the only runs of the game with a two run home run in the top of the third inning. 

Slike’s two RBI’s would prove to be enough for the win as Dunning slammed the door anytime FGCU tried to break through. BC outhit FGCU by an 8 to 3 margin, and while the eight hits only amounted to 2 runs, BC’s defense was strong enough to keep FGCU off the scoreboard.

“Our defense did a great job behind Abby,” BC head coach Amy Kvilhaug said. “Everybody did what they needed to do defensively.”

The first two innings were relatively quiet from both teams in terms of offense, and by the end of the second inning, each team had only given up one hit. This would change during the top of the 3rd inning after Nicole Giery doubled to get in scoring position with only one out. 

The next batter was Slike, who hammered a 1-2 ball from FGCU pitcher Claire Maulding over the fence to give the Eagles an early 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third Dunning mowed down the next three batters for FGCU. In the fourth inning, Zoe Hines led off the inning with a double, but the Eagles were unable to drive her in as Maulding took care of the next three batters.

“I don’t want to think of it as a low scoring game”, Kvilhaug said “At any given moment we could have broken that game open, but we just didn’t. But those are the things you work on as the season goes along.” 

In the bottom of the fourth Dunning kept her team on top as she went 1-2-3 and struck out three FGCU batters to maintain a 2–0 lead.

The Eagles nearly expanded their lead in the fifth inning. 

After Kali Case opened up the inning with a groundout, the Eagles would soon get two runners in scoring position. After Giery walked, Slike and Jordan Stephens singled to give BC second and third with only one out. But FGCU struck out the next two BC batters to keep the Eagles lead at two runs.

Dunning continued to keep FGCU off the board as she retired three out of four batters to end the fifth inning.

The Eagles had another chance to extend their lead in the sixth inning, when Megan Schouten walked and Emma Jackson singled with two outs. But the Eagles stranded a runner on base after BC’s Tannis Jackin was caught stealing and Case grounded out. 

BC closed out the game in an emphatic way. Although the Eagles were only able to muster one hit in the top of the seventh, Dunning and the Eagles defense would seal the victory for BC. Dunning surrendered just one hit in the final inning, and forced three pop ups to seal the win for the Eagles.

“We’ve been working really hard on working both sides of the plate so she was giving hitters a lot of looks,” Kvilhaug said of Dunning’s performance. “So it was really tough for them to settle in. Her repertoire has grown so much, the way she can command both sides of the plate and I think that led to a good effort for her today.”

February 9, 2024

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