Softball: BU Bests Harvard Thanks to Explosive Seventh Inning

By Bobby Serafin

CAMBRIDGE – The 23rd-ranked Boston University softball team (36-4) extended their current win streak to nine after a back-and-forth 9-5 victory against Harvard University (18-14) Tuesday afternoon.

Following a three-game sweep last weekend against Holy Cross for the Turnpike Trophy, the Patriot League leaders traveled across the Charles River to battle the Crimson in a non-conference bout. 

Senior Anna Reed got the start for the Crimson and began the game with a clean first inning, exhibiting great command. Senior infielder Caitlin Coker notched a two-out single but was stranded after a flyout. Sophomore Kasey Ricard started strong as well, keeping Harvard hitless in the bottom of the inning. 

Reed lost some control in the second, walking one and giving up a hard-hit single to senior infielder Kate Pryor to put the Terriers within striking distance. That would be all for Reed, who was overextended during Harvard’s sweep over Columbia last weekend. 

Replacing Reed was junior Katie Arrambide, who struggled to find her footing, hitting the first two batters she faced to open the scoring for BU. Senior outfielder Lauren Keleher followed that up with a four-pitch walk to double the Terrier lead.

This forced the Crimson to make another pitching change. Freshman Nicolette Hunter entered the circle. Faced with bases loaded, Hunter induced weak contact to produce a fielder’s choice that got the leader runner, Boaz, out at home to keep the deficit at two. A Coker flyout ended the inning, giving Harvard some life. 

BU experienced similar issues in the pitching circle in the second. Ricard allowed three of the first four batters to reach base. However, the sophomore tightened things up and forced an inning-ending double play to keep the Crimson scoreless. Both teams consistently struggle with sending runners, with each team leaving 10 runs on base.

The BU bats stayed busy in the top half of the third. With two outs, Pryor came through and roped a double down the leftfield line to notch her first of two RBIs. After a passed ball advanced Pryor to third, Boaz pushed a single to the opposite field to make it a 4-0 game.  

Harvard completely turned the tide in the bottom of the third, rallying for five runs to take the lead for the first and only time. The frame opened with two infield singles from freshman outfielder Audrey Szollosi and leadoff hitter Lauren Bobowski, showing some cracks in the BU defense. 

A second walk from Ricard, who failed to record a strikeout in a start for the first time all year, log-jammed the bases with nobody out. This would end Ricard’s day at just 41 pitches. BU Head coach Ashley Waters moved Boaz from first to the circle to pitch the Terriers out of the jam.

Boaz was wild from the jump, throwing a wild pitch to concede the Crimson’s first run. A walk and a flyout later, the bases were juiced again. Another walk cut the BU lead in half. Then junior infielder Maya Douglas sent a hard ground ball straight at Coker, who couldn’t flash the leather in time, bringing the Crimson to within one. 

Waters lifted Boaz in favor of grad pitcher Lizzy Avery. Harvard’s momentum continued, with BU’s Avery surrendering another walk and a single that completed the Crimson comeback, 5-4. 

From there, Avery settled things down the rest of the way, allowing just three hits over the next four innings of work to keep Harvard at five. Hunter did likewise for the Crimson, holding BU to one run entering the top of the seventh. 

The lone tally came off Pryor’s bat, a sacrifice fly that drove in sophomore infielder Brooke Deppiesse, who tripled earlier in the frame. With the game tied, BU left two runners on base as Keleher grounded out to end the inning. 

With extra innings looming, the Terrier bats came to life in the seventh. BU did all their damage with two outs, as a clutch pinch-hit walk from junior outfielder Tyesha Williams began the rally. 

After Williams stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error, the Terriers were down to their final strike, but Keleher rifled a single to right to give her side the lead. Following another single from senior infielder Kayla Roncin, Coker landed the knockout blow, launching a home run over the center-field fence to send her dugout into a frenzy. 

Now leading 9-5, Avery labored through the bottom of the seventh but struckout two batters in the heart of the order to seal the win for BU and bring her season record to 6-0.

Coker made all the difference for the Terriers at the plate, going three for five with a home run and stolen base to secure the BU’s 15th road win. 

BU returns home for a non-conference matchup against Stonehill College (10-27). The first pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.