Softball: Extra-inning victories give BU sweep of Army

Allison Boaz on the mound against Boston College on April 20, 2022. Boaz pitched a complete, scoreless game against Army West Point on Saturday in the Terriers’ series sweep of the Black Knights. PATRICK DONNELLY/ WTBU SPORTS

By Hannah Yoshinaga 

Boston University softball (37-13, 15-0 PL) picked up another series sweep this weekend, this time against Army West Point (18-31, 8-7 PL). The final win extended the team’s NCAA-leading win streak to 26 games.

However, the Terriers’ wins did not come easy — their one-run and two-run wins were their lowest margins of victory against a conference opponent this year.

Junior pitcher Lizzy Avery pitched games 2 and 3 of the series, allowing just two runs, one of them earned, and striking out 12. Nine of Avery’s strikeouts came in game 2. Junior pitcher Allison Boaz also picked up a complete-game victory against the Black Knights in game 1, in which she allowed no runs and K’d six.

Game 1: BU defeats Army 2-0

Both teams got off to a cold start offensively — prior to extra innings, the Terriers managed four hits and the Black Knights recorded just three. BU finished the game with six runners left on base and Army ended with five.

The Terriers finally got on the board in the top of the eighth. Junior third baseman Caitlin Coker kicked off the inning by reaching on a fielding error by Army shortstop Lauren Little, but was caught stealing to make the first out.

In the next at-bat, sophomore right fielder Lauren Keleher singled to left. Sophomore shortstop Kayla Roncin grounded out to get the second out, but advanced Keleher to second. Head coach Ashley Waters subsequently subbed in sophomore Lauren Nett to pinch run for Keleher.

Senior left fielder Emily Gant stepped up to the plate and cranked a double to left field that allowed Nett to score. Gant came around to score on a single by graduate center fielder Jen Horita, giving the Terriers a two-run lead to defend in the bottom of the inning.

Army’s first batter, pitcher Julie Duong, worked a walk to open the bottom of the eighth, but Boaz got a groundout and two strikeouts to end the game.

Game 2: BU defeats Army 2-1

BU required extra innings to defeat the Black Knights again in the teams’ second meeting of the afternoon.

The Terriers found themselves in potential trouble early on when Army loaded the bases in the second after Avery got the first two outs. Right fielder Kayla Edwards walked to bring around one run, but Avery struck out first baseman Leila Hurst in the next at-bat to get out of the jam.

The BU bats remained quiet until the fourth when Keleher opened the inning with a walk and Roncin reached second on a fielder’s choice and error. The Terriers looked to be in danger when Gant and Horita struck out back-to-back, but a throwing error by Army catcher Maddie Wilkes allowed Keleher to steal third and eventually score.

BU and Army remained in a deadlock through the end of seven innings, pushing them into extras. Each team went three up, three down in the eighth.

The Terriers began the ninth with a walk, this time by Roncin. Another error by the Black Knights put Gant on base and she later advanced to second on a groundout by Horita. Senior first baseman Nicole Amodio was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A walk by senior second baseman AJ Huerta-Leipner scored Roncin and gave BU a one-run advantage.

All three Army batters grounded out in the bottom of the inning to end the contest.

Game 3: BU defeats Army 11-1

Any questions about BU’s offense from the first two games were quickly erased in game 3.

Coker wasted no time getting the Terriers on the board, working a four-pitch at-bat that ended in a home run to right field. Graduate designated hitter Marina Sylvestri added to BU’s lead when she singled to score Keleher later in the inning.

The Terriers weren’t done leaving the yard for the afternoon, however, as Roncin knocked a two-run homer to left in the third that also brought home Keleher.

Later in the third, Huerta-Leipner doubled and managed to reach third base on an error, which resulted in Amodio, Sylvestri and Horita scoring. A single by junior catcher Audrey Sellers brought Huerta-Leipner around the bases, and a single by Keleher scored Sellers. Keleher ran home after Horita reached on a fielder’s choice, giving BU a 10-0 lead at the close of the inning.

Army scored its only run of the game in the fourth on a one-out fielder’s choice that allowed Wilkes to reach home.

Gant wrapped up the Terriers’ scoring with a solo home run in the fifth.

BU heads into its final conference series of the regular season with the top seed in the Patriot League, which they have maintained throughout their conference slate. The Terriers face Lehigh at home on Saturday and Sunday, with the first game scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday.