Softball: Terriers Sweep Doubleheader at UConn

By Bobby Serafin

STORRS, Conn. – The Boston University Softball Team (27-3) followed up their first set of conference games with a pair of road wins against the University of Connecticut (17-4) on Tuesday.

The Terriers — D1Softball’s 25th-ranked team nationally — entered the UConn doubleheader on an eight-game win streak, going an impressive 14-2 in March. BU has consistently stifled opposing bats, limiting opponents to three runs or fewer in all but two of their March fixtures.

That dominance on the mound continued for the Terriers, with sophomore pitcher Kasey Ricard – now holding a 13-2 record on the year – tallying 11 straight innings of work.

Over the two games, the reigning Patriot League Rookie of the Year struck out 18 Husky batters while walking just three. That staggering tally for Ricard was just one shy of her career-high for most strikeouts recorded in a single day of games.

Last week’s Patriot League Pitcher of the Week relieved grad pitcher Allison Boaz in game one for the final three innings to get her first save of the season, but Ricard carried the load in game two, shutting out the Huskies in a season-high eight-inning performance.

Allison Boaz started the first game Tuesday afternoon for BU and had four rocky innings, giving up only three runs the Terriers conceded. The San Diego native only struck out two on 83 pitches, which prompted Waters to switch to Ricard for a better matchup against the UConn hitters.

Ricard fanned seven Huskies over the next three innings, not allowing a single hit. While the pitching didn’t get off to its typically dominant start, the bats were alive from the get-go, with BU driving in four in the top half of the second inning.

Following a walk to Boaz and an error that put two Terrier runners in scoring position, senior infielder Lauren Nett laid down an effective bunt. Nett’s swift base-running beat out the throw to first and brought Boaz home.

Just as UConn notched two outs and could see the end of the inning, senior shortstop Kayla Roncin singled to center field, pushing two more Terriers in to score to make it 3-0.

BU wouldn’t let up. Roncin, now at third base,  took advantage of a wild pitch from UConn starter Hallie Siems to push the Terrier lead to four.

The Huskies’ senior pitcher took her fourth loss of the season, giving up six runs — five earned — on seven hits. Control was an issue for Siems. The five wild pitches she issued allowed BU to run rampant on the base paths, with grad infielders Caitlin Coker and Nett each picking up a stolen base.

UConn answered with a run in the bottom of the second when sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Kibling raked a double into the left-center gap to put the Huskies on the board.

The Huskies had a golden opportunity with the bases loaded with two outs, but Boaz had the answer, getting leadoff hitter Lexi Hastings to fly out to end the inning. Although Uconn’s junior outfielder went 2 for 4 in the game, she couldn’t win the battle with Boaz when it mattered.

BU would add a fifth run in the top of the fourth via another wild pitch that Coker anticipated to restore a four-run advantage. Reaching base four times on the day, Coker pushed her team-leading on-base streak to 16 games.

The Huskies, however, wouldn’t go away, answering yet again in the bottom of the frame. This time, Hastings came through, lacing a double to left to bring home one initial run, but the following runner was nailed at the plate. However, officials reversed the call.

With plenty of game left and UConn down only two runs, Ricard stepped and pitched three shutout innings, while the Terrier bats got one more insurance run in the sixth to secure the 6-3 victory.

The second game was a pitcher’s duel between BU’s Ricard and UConn’s Payton Kinney. Both pitchers allowed only one hit each through the first five frames of the contest. Despite three errors committed by UConn, the Terriers failed to capitalize due to the Huskies making a series of stellar plays in the outfield.

After leaving six runners on base over the first seven innings, BU finally delivered as junior outfielder Tyesha Williams drove a single into center field that sent Coker home. An errant throw drove in the grad student, who represented the game-winning run.

Following the BU breakthrough, Ricard retired three straight to secure the sweep for the Terriers, who have now won three straight extra-innings bouts.

The Terriers will stay on the road and travel to Hamilton, New York, for a three-game series against the Colgate Raiders next weekend. First pitch on Saturday, April 6th, will be at noon.