Hot Start: BU Softball Dominant Through First Three Tournaments of the Season

By William Hanley

The Boston University softball team began their 2024 campaign in historically commanding fashion, notching 13 straight wins at the Frank Griffin Classic, Charlotte Invitational and Duke Invitational en route to the best season start in program history.

The No. 24 Terriers, reigning Patriot League champions, managed an impressive 52-10 record in 2023 – the most victories by a team in the Northeast in over two decades – and climbed to No. 25 in national polling for the first time since 1996. However, Virginia Tech bumped the Terriers from the NCAA Tournament (No. 24/23) after suffering a 9-0 route by the Hokies in the regional round.

The Terriers kicked off their 2024 season with five consecutive wins during a trip to Florida for the Frank Griffin Classic.

Starting pitchers Kasey Ricard – current Patriot League earned run average (ERA), opponent batting average, and strikeout leader – and Allison Boaz – last year’s Patriot League ERA, innings pitched, and wins leader – pitched back-to-back no-hitters on the first day of the tournament against the Binghamton Bearcats and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars respectively.

The Terriers also dominated at the plate, forcing two mercy rule finishes in the season opener against Binghampton and the closing contest against the hosting Stetson University Hatters, leaving the Frank Griffin Classic with a run differential of +33.

BU maintained winning momentum in the Charlotte Invitational, with the Terriers shutting out their opponents in three of the five games played at the event while also scoring 5.9 runs per game on average.

Adversity did present itself during the team’s first trip to North Carolina. Down two runs entering the final frame of the tournament opener against Queens College, a Kayla Roncin groundball base hit and Lizzy Avery single scored three runs to give BU the 7-6 walk-off win.

The University of North Carolina-Charlotte 49ers, particularly starting pitcher Sam Gress, also gave the Terriers trouble in the tournament’s penultimate game.

After scoring two quick runs on an Avery single in the first, Gress rendered the Terriers scoreless through the next six innings. Ricard kept pace with Gress, holding the 49ners run-less until the bottom of the seventh when a bases-loaded walk set up UNC Charlotte for a walk-off victory. However, a flyout would keep the score at 2-1, saving BU’s winning streak, which stood at 10-0 after the Charlotte Invitational.

The Terriers returned to the Tarheel State for the Duke Invitational the following weekend. While facing their first Power 5 competition of the year, BU’s bats were on fire at the start of the tournament.

In three games against Michigan State, Villanova and Elon, the Terriers racked up 33 runs, beating the Spartans 9-1 – BU’s third mercy-rule victory of the season, the Wildcats 8-1 and the Phoenix 16-3.

BU’s win streak stood at 13 entering the tournament’s final game against the hosting Duke University Blue Devils (No. 6/8). Although the Terriers led by one entering the bottom of the sixth, a three-run surge by the Blue Devils earned the Duke the 4-2 win,

As BU prepares to travel to South Carolina for the Beach Chicken Brawl, the team enters as the only nationally ranked program and the undisputed best team emerging from the Patriot League. The Terriers currently lead the conference in team batting, pitching and fielding.

In addition to Ricard’s stellar performances in the circle for the Terriers, much of BU’s offensive success can be attributed to Roncin, who leads the Patriot League in batting average, hits, on-base plus slugging percentage, runs batted in, runs scored and home runs.

The Terriers have double-header action scheduled for Friday, March 8th, against the Ohio University Bobcats at 10:00 a.m. and the George Mason University Patriots at 12:30 p.m.