Softball: BU Splits Two in Louisville Slugger Tournament
By Jack Hughes
The Boston University Terriers (17-6), went 1-1 in the Louisville Slugger Tournament, dropping a game to Weber State (6-14) 2-1 before rallying to take down No. 16 Baylor (18-3) 2-0. The double-header on Thursday was originally planned to be followed up by another pair of games on Friday against Sacramento State and Columbia, as well as a one off the following day against Brown in Fullerton, however inclement weather prevented all three contests from being played.
The Terriers showed some promise offensively and defensively against Weber State in the early going, securing an early lead that held for the vast majority of the game before a few late runs secured the win for the Wildcats.
Junior outfielder Lauren Keleher immediately made an impact for the Terriers hitting a single to left center. BU would soon get into trouble as both junior shortstop Kayla Roncin and senior third baseman Caitlin Coker would reach on a fielder’s choice resulting in Keleher and Roncin being thrown out at second. The bats got back on track though as freshman second baseman Brooke Deppiesse singled up the middle on the very first pitch thrown to her. Graduate outfielder Emily Gant would follow that up with a walk, and after a wild pitch resulted in all runners advancing, the Terriers would take a one run lead.
The scoring wouldn’t continue as graduate first baseman Nicole Amodio would end the inning after getting struck out looking. The Wildcat offense wouldn’t see the same success in the bottom of the first, as McKell McCuiston would ground out. While Katelyn Whiting managed to draw a walk on four pitches and even advance to second when Mika Chong grounded out, she would be stranded there when Lauren Hoe was struck out looking on three pitches.
The second inning featured only six batters between the two teams, as Kate Pryor, Tyesha Williams and Audrey Sellers flew out, lined out and struck out, respectively, for the Terriers, and the Wildcats’ Emily Ruhl, Mia Rushton and Faith Hoe would line out, strike out and ground out to end the second.
Much of the third, fourth, and fifth innings would be similarly defensive, as while BU racked up five hits, including three in the fourth, no runs were driven in. The Wildcats managed two hits in the same span, again with no results scoring wise.
The sixth inning looked to be much of the same, with BU’s Gant, Amodio and junior infielder Lauren Nett unable to get on base. However, after McCuiston hit a single and Whiting drew another four-pitch walk, Chong took advantage of a fielding error. Lauren Hoe then reached on a fielder’s choice, driving in McCuiston’s pinch runner, Riley Whalen. After Ruhl’s groundout allowed Whiting to score, Weber State, despite only having one hit in the inning, took the lead.
The Terriers had one final chance to retake the lead, but Jayci Finch finished out the game strong, only allowing a single to Keleher before she was thrown out in a fielder’s choice situation.
The following matchup against Baylor had a much slower start, with both teams combining for two hits in the first two innings, and while Baylor had runners on second and third, a foul out down the third base line from Ana Watson would result in a scoreless inning.
The Terriers scored the first run of the game in the top of the third when, after Williams singled, she was driven in with a sacrifice bunt from Amodio and a fielding error from the Bears.
After another 1-2-3 inning from freshman pitcher Kasey Ricard, the Terrier offense found more success as Caitlin Coker singled and would eventually score following a Deppiesse walk, a Gant single and a fly out from Nett.
From there, it was up to the Terrier defense to hold the lead, as the bats went cold and got one hit in the following three innings. Ricard and the defense seemed to have proved up to the task, with the Bears hitting only two singles in the bottom of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The seventh inning provided a spark of offense for the Bears, with Kaci West starting Baylor off with a single. After that, Josie Bower popped up, but the setback was followed by Zadie Levalley drawing a walk on a full count, with Ashlyn Wachendorf pinch running. A Watson strikeout gave Baylor only one more chance at avoiding the loss, and a Presleigh Pilon single put West in scoring position with Wachendorf behind her. However, a McKenzie Wilson groundout ended the game for the Bears, with BU securing their first win against a nationally ranked opponent.
The Terriers return to Massachusetts on March 16 with a doubleheader against Merrimack at 1 and 3:30 p.m.