By: Dave Souza
After stumbling in their first day of the Madeira Beach Tournament, the Boston University Softball team rebounded, stringing together wins in their final three contests to salvage the weekend with a 3-2 record.
Floundering against Eastern Michigan and Oakland University on Friday, the Terriers reversed course and downed the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Quinnipiac, and Southern Illinois to round out the tournament.
In their first contest, against the Eagles of EMU, BU (5-4) exploded offensively. The Terrier bats struck for six runs across the first five innings and cruised into the bottom of the seventh up by two. However, a furious comeback by Eastern Michigan handed the Terriers their third straight loss, this time at 7-6.
The final frame truly began with runners on first and second with one out and freshman Sam Isaly at the plate. Pinch hitting for her classmate, Ariana Chretien, Isaly ripped an RBI single up the middle, bringing the Eagles within a run and putting the winning run on first. A groundout to the catcher moved the runners over.
After a passed ball allowed junior Haley Hostetler to score from third, senior Michelle Kriegshauser stepped up to the plate with a chance to win the game for the Eagles. After working a full count against BU’s Kali Magane (3-2), Kriegshauser drove an RBI single up the middle to deliver the win for EMU.
And while the first game of BU’s Friday double-header featured 13 total runs, the second needed just one. Unfortunately for the Terriers, that one run came in the top of the fourth inning off of a homerun by Oakland shortstop Jaime Squires. The blast was one of seven hits Magane surrendered in the contest as the freshman dealt seven innings of one-run softball.
Magane’s lone mistake of the game was all that the Golden Grizzlies needed as Erin Kownacki (1-0) earned her first win of the season by tossing a complete game shutout. She allowed just three hits and struck out two.
The Terriers, however, did not let their pair of one-run defeats get to them. Losing in four straight contests leading up to Saturday, BU stemmed the skid by rattling off back-to-back wins in their double-header.
In their first contest, the scarlet and white bested UAB, 5-3, thanks to three homeruns – including a pair from senior Gabi Martinez. The Weston, Florida native opened the scoring by ripping a three-run homer to left in the top of the first inning. And while the Dragons responded with three runs in the bottom of the third to tie, Martinez would have the last word.
In the top of the sixth, Martinez drove her second ball of the game out of the yard, this time on a solo shot to center to give the Terriers a one-run lead. That blast, combined with Alex Heinen’s solo homerun in the seventh, were enough to lift BU to a victory as Magane silenced the UAB bats after coming on midway through the third.
In the second half of the double header, the BU offense continued to roll as the Terriers trounced Quinnipiac, 8-1. While the offense struck for all of their runs in just three innings – including a four-run third – Makinna Akers (2-1) pitched a complete game, allowing one run on two hits while striking out six.
Martinez again led the offense, plating three runs on an RBI single in the third. She also walked twice in her two other plate appearances.
On Sunday, the Terriers looked to win out as they squared off with Southern Illinois (6-4). Riding a pair of two RBI performances by Alexa Ponce and Kaitlin Sahlinger, BU edged SIU, 5-4.
Both teams traded a pair of runs in the first inning before a two-run fourth gave Southern Illinois a 4-3 lead heading into the top of the fifth. Two consecutive errors and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for Ponce, who delivered the equalizer on a one-out, RBI single. Two batters later, SIU’s Savan Dover plunked Sahlinger, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Despite getting just one hit in the frame, the Terriers took the lead. They would not relinquish it.
Magane once again entered the contest in relief, this time taking over in the second inning for Lizzie Annerino. Despite giving up two runs and walking three, the freshman right-hander allowed just two hits in the final three innings to preserve the win.
The tournament marks the end of the Terriers’ time in Florida, as they’ll next head to the San Diego Classic in Southern California for a five-game tournament. The weekend-long event starts on Friday night when BU battles San Jose State at 5 p.m.