Softball: Terriers fall to Lehigh in PL title games

Sophomore Lauren Nett in a game against Lehigh University. Boston University softball lost two games to Lehigh on Saturday, ending the Terriers’ season. KYLE PRUDHOMME VIA BU ATHLETICS

By Hannah Yoshinaga 

It was déjà vu for Boston University softball on Saturday as the Terriers fell to Lehigh in the final two games of the Patriot League tournament, ending their season and hopes of a fourth consecutive title run. Lehigh needed two wins to claim the 2022 conference title and did so by winning 1-0 in game 1 and 4-1 in game 2.

The Terriers (40-17, 16-2 PL) also fell to the Mountain Hawks (30-18-1, 15-3 PL) in the last two games of the regular season at home last week.

Game 1: Lehigh defeats BU 1-0

BU struggled to generate offense in game 1 against Lehigh starter Gabriella Nori, who allowed just five hits and one walk in a complete-game shutout of the Terriers. The Terriers got a runner past first base in five out of seven innings but ended up stranding six players. Nori was awarded Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player later in the afternoon.

In the final two innings, BU had graduate center fielder Jen Horita on third and sophomore designated player Lauren Nett on second, giving them a chance to make a late comeback. However, Nori quickly generated soft-contact outs both times to escape the jam.

The only scoring run of the game came in the third when Lehigh left fielder Emily Cimino grounded out to third base and second baseman Josie Charles scored on a throwing error by Terrier first baseman Nicole Amodio.

The unearned run was the only allowed by junior pitcher Allison Boaz; the game was her third shutout in BU’s first three tournament games.

Game 2: Lehigh defeats BU 4-1

Boaz got off to another clean start to open game 2, allowing only one single in the first two innings and sitting down the other six batters she faced.

Trouble came in the third, beginning with a single by Charles and a subsequent single by shortstop Carley Barjaktarovich with no outs. Cimino reached in the next at-bat on a fielder’s choice that BU turned to throw out Charles at third.

Yet, it didn’t end up mattering much, as familiar foe Jaelynn Chesson homered to bring in three runs anyway. Chesson also sent the Terriers packing on May 7 with a three-run homer.

Designated player Addie Kittel homered to bring home the Mountain Hawks’ fourth run of the inning, which led head coach Ashley Waters to replace Boaz with junior pitcher Lizzy Avery.

While Lehigh never scored again, the BU offense couldn’t make much of a dent either. The Terriers left five runners on in the next five innings, though they did manage to score one run in the seventh. Senior second baseman AJ Huerta-Leipner initially reached on a hit by pitch, later getting to second on a wild pitch and third on a fielder’s choice. Sophomore Kate Pryor pinch hit for junior catcher Audrey Sellers, knocking in Huerta-Leipner on a single to center.

What’s Next?

Lehigh’s title win grants the Mountain Hawks an NCAA tournament berth. With the two losses, BU’s season comes to an end.

The Terriers’ roster could undergo significant turnover in the offseason, with two graduate students (Horita and utility Marina Sylvestri) and five seniors (Amodio, Huerta-Leipner, outfielder Emily Gant, pitcher Julia Handfield, and infielder Bella Gargicevich-Almeida) on the 2022 team. However, some players could return using the fifth-year of eligibility granted by the NCAA following the early suspension of the 2020 season.

The Terriers officially begin their push for a fourth league title in six years next February.