By Michael Wax
Boston University softball (30-13, 9-0 PL) put up a weekend-series shutout of Holy Cross (13-26, 3-9 PL) on Saturday and Sunday, taking the three games by a combined score of 19-0.
“I thought we did a good job coming out,” BU head coach Ashley Waters said. “I thought our pitches were ready to go. Our defense was ready to go.”
With the game 3 win, the Terriers set both a BU softball record and a Patriot League softball record with their 19th consecutive victory.
“It’s honestly kind of crazy,” said graduate center fielder Jen Horita. “I think the great thing about our team is that we’re not the type of people to strive for those types of things. I think our team wants to win in the end when it counts. And I mean, obviously, that’s an awesome thing to do. But I think we are more focused on game to game and being able to win and look forward to the Patriot League tournament in a couple of weeks.”
Junior pitchers Lizzy Avery and Allison Boaz accounted for all 21 innings of work. Avery tossed a five-inning no-hitter in game 1, the 27th in team history and her second this season, while Boaz put up 14 innings of scoreless ball across two outings.
“I give a lot of credit to Avery and Boaz,” Waters said. “They did a really great job keeping [Holy Cross] at bay.”
GAME 1: BU DEFEATS HOLY CROSS 8-0
Game 1 saw an early stalemate between Holy Cross starter Kelly Nelson and Avery, the number one and two leaders in the Patriot League for strikeouts, respectively. Avery had every pitch working for her, in what would turn out to be a very special game for the junior.
After stranding runners on base in the first two innings, BU was able to provide Avery some run support in the third. Sophomore right fielder Lauren Keleher drove in the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly, and the Terriers’ patience at the plate eventually resulted in a bases-loaded scenario for Horita. Horita drove a 1-2 pitch into the right-centerfield gap to clear the bases and get BU a 4-0 lead with the triple. Horita would then score on a wild pitch a few pitches later, increasing BU’s advantage to five runs and spelling the end of the day for Nelson.
“I think we definitely had to make some adjustments to the first time in the lineup,” Waters said.
After two more hitless innings from Avery, the Terriers went back to work at the plate in the bottom of the fifth. Back-to-back hit by pitches brought Horita up with a runner in scoring position once again. Horita scored sophomore shortstop Kayla Roncin with a single, and Horita’s aggressive baserunning put runners at second and third. Senior first baseman Nicole Amodio ended the game by mercy rule with a two-RBI single, giving Avery her second no-hitter in the process.
GAME 2: BU DEFEATS HOLY CROSS 4-0
Boaz made quick work of the Crusaders the first time through the lineup.
After a big third inning in game 1, BU once again put up big numbers in the third in game 2. An error from Holy Cross shortstop Bailey Bates allowed Horita to score, putting BU on the board first. The Terriers loaded the bases as the inning continued, and Amodio continued her strong day with a bases-clearing double to give BU a 4-0 lead.
After a quiet fourth inning for both sides, Holy Cross picked up its first base hit of the afternoon in the fifth when pitcher Megan Yurchick beat out a grounder to the shortstop. However, Boaz was able to escape danger and put up a zero once again.
Boaz went all seven innings in game two, never finding herself in much trouble and striking out six. Both Boaz and Avery had their best foot forward on the mound but also had solid defense behind them to preserve the shutouts.
“We trust our pitchers in terms of pitch location,” Waters said. “When I’m calling pitches, they know when to shift and where to be in terms of getting themselves in the right position, knowing what pitch is coming. I think our defense did a great job of making the plays they needed to.”
Yet, she still feels the team needs to improve on other aspects of its game.
“We have to eliminate walks,” Waters said. “We had three walks in the first game, one walk I think in the second game and we can’t give people extra chances. We have to be that team that separates ourselves and plays a clean softball game.”
GAME 3: BU DEFEATS HOLY CROSS 7-0
BU went back to Boaz for game 3 of the series, and Holy Cross countered with game 1 starter Kelly Nelson. BU couldn’t muster up any runs in the first two innings but once again saw a third-inning turnaround. Coker drove a 2-1 pitch over the right-field fence to give BU a 1-0 lead, and Keleher drove in Roncin to make it a 2-0 lead.
“Like coach said, if people were hitting in front of you, you kind of want to be able to carry that on and pass the bat,” Horita said. “So I think it was really good that, especially this game, a lot of people throughout the lineup were able to jump on it and help us get a bunch of hits.”
The fourth inning saw Yurchick come in to pitch for Holy Cross, and BU capitalized early. Senior second baseman AJ Huerta-Leipner scored on a booted ground ball and got two runners in scoring position. In the fifth and sixth, the Terriers saw their lead increase through productive outs. Senior designated player Bella Gargicevich-Almeida had a sacrifice fly in the fifth, and after yet another RBI single from Roncin, Keleher and Sylvestri both had RBI groundouts to stretch the lead to 7-0.
Boaz finished off the game with a clean seventh to give BU the weekend sweep and the new record.
“Ali’s been great the entire year,” Horita said. “We want to make plays behind her and help her out as much as we can.”
The Terriers host Boston College on Wednesday at 3 p.m. for their final non-conference matchup of the regular season.