Softball: Terriers win four out of five in Queen City Classic

By Bobby Serafin and Charlie DeMatteo

Boston University Softball Team (11-3) won four out of their five games this past weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Queen City Classic.

After dropping the first game to the University of Charlotte (9-4) by a final of 11-1 in just five innings, the Terriers rebounded to run-rule Kent State (4-10) 8-0 in six innings. Then they beat Georgia Tech (8-7) 2-0 and Penn State (7-3) twice, 4-0 on Saturday and 7-5 on Sunday.

The Thursday opener against the University of Charlotte got off to a flying start for BU. Junior shortstop Kayla Roncin took sophomore pitcher Sam Gress deep to center field for her second home run of the season. After another long ball later in the weekend, Roncin is one homer shy of her total from last season.

Senior pitcher Allison Boaz started this game, but didn’t record a single out. Charlotte infielder Ashleigh Washington responded to Roncin’s dinger with one of her own on just Boaz’s third pitch. Graduates Kassidy Krupit and Bailey Vannoy followed up with a single and a home run. It was a career day for Vannoy, who hit two home runs and collected three RBIs. 

After Vannoy’s homer made it 3-1, senior Lizzy Avery came on in relief and got BU out of the first without any more damage. Avery went a scoreless 3.1 innings until Charlotte utility player Madelyn Wright went yard to make it 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth. That ended Avery’s day, as freshman Kasey Ricard finished the inning with two straight punchouts. 

The game’s turning point was in the top of the fourth, where the Terriers failed to score after loading the bases with just one out. The bottom of the lineup couldn’t come through, as sophomore outfielder Tyesha Williams flied out to end the inning.  

The 49ers finished off the game in the bottom of the fifth, scoring six runs. Vannoy opened the inning with her second home run of the game — Charlotte recorded five long balls in the game. 

Ricard couldn’t keep the 49ers quiet, allowing four straight batters to reach base, capped off by a single from freshman infielder London Dirks that made it 8-1. Shortly after, Washington’s second homer served as a walk-off, with Charlotte now leading by at least 10 runs after five innings. 

The following morning, the Terriers bounced back against the Kent State Golden Eagles.  After a good showing in relief, Avery got the start. She rewarded coach Ashley Waters by throwing six scoreless innings while only allowing three batters to reach base (two hits, one walk). Normally known as a strikeout pitcher, Avery had only three K’s in this start, but generated a lot of weak contact in the complete-game shutout 

BU got on the front foot in the bottom of the second via an Audrey Sellers single. The senior catcher’s clutch hit looked like it would score the lead runner, but an errant throw allowed both graduate Nicole Amodio and Williams to score. 

The Terriers never looked back, scoring three more in the bottom of the third. These runs were scored the hard way, as freshman infielder Brooke Deppiesse recording a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0. Williams then grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored senior Caitlin Coker, which was then proceeded by Amodio extending a rundown that allowed graduate outfielder Emily Gant to come home. 

Another error by Kent State in the bottom of the fourth brought junior outfielder Lauren Keleher to the plate to make it 7-0. To finish the game, Coker was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth to bring home the winning run (mercy rule occurs when a team has at least an eight-run lead in the bottom of the sixth). For Avery, it was only her second appearance that ended in a decision, which pushed her record to 2-0. 

BU battled Georgia Tech to conclude Friday’s action. The Yellow Jackets sent out senior pitcher Blake Neleman while the Terriers went with Ricard. The freshman has been excellent when starting games this season, and that continued in this one. 

While Neleman labored through four innings of one-run ball, Ricard went the distance, pitching seven scoreless innings to go along with a career-high nine strikeouts. Although her control wasn’t great– she surrendered four walks– her rising fastball kept the Georgia Tech batters off-balanced. BU pitchers were excellent on Friday, not allowing a single run.

The Terriers found it hard to generate offense, only raking four hits in the game, but were able to do enough to get the win. The game stayed scoreless for the first three innings, but that all changed when Deppiesse hit a two-out triple to bring home Gant for what proved to be the winning run. 

Sellers later scored on a Coker fielder’s choice in the top of the fifth to make it 2-0. Georgia Tech tried to rally in the late innings, but Ricard fanned six batters in the final three innings of work to grab her fourth win of the season. 

On Saturday, Boaz tossed six scoreless innings over the Nittany Lions. It was a massive turnaround for Boaz, who only allowed one hit and a pair of walks on what was a stellar afternoon for the senior. Coker drove in a pair of runs and went 2-for-3 at the plate. 

Coker started things off for BU in the first inning with a base hit up the middle to score junior Lauren Keleher. The Terriers tacked on another run in the first when Deppiesse lined one to shortstop and caused a throwing error which allowed Coker to score. 

The Terriers tacked on a couple more runs in the sixth inning thanks to a triple from Coker and a sacrifice fly from freshman Aimee Metz. Avery sealed the win for BU with a scoreless seventh inning.

On Sunday, three homers from Nittany Lion players made BU work much harder for their win. The Terriers went down 3-0 thanks to home runs from junior Liana Jones and senior Kaitlyn Morrison. Deppiesse responded with a big double in the third inning to tie the game 3-3, before Rex homered again for Penn State to give the Nittany Lions the lead.

The two teams went back and forth until the sixth inning until junior Kayla Roncin broke a 5-5 tie with a huge two-run homer to give BU the 7-5 lead. Boaz threw the final 5.2 innings to close out the win for BU.

The Terriers will look to continue their strong start to the season when they head west for the San Diego Classic starting on Friday.