By: Dave Souza
With the Boston University softball team looking to stem a west coast skid, the perfect opportunity arose when the Terriers began the Long Beach State Tournament out in California. However, instead of reversing course, the Terriers (8-14) continued their stumble, losing five of six in the tournament to go 3-10 on their west-coast swing.
After dropping four of five in the San Diego Classic, the scarlet and white ventured down to Los Angeles to square off in a two-game duel with Loyola Marymount.
In the first contest, the Terriers entered the bottom of the sixth inning tied at 2 with LMU; however, a four-run frame by the Lions was enough to dispatch BU as they dropped their second straight game.
Despite their shortcomings in game one, the Terriers turned things around with a 3-1 win over LMU the next day. In that contest, BU struck for three runs across three separate innings – thanks to an Alex Heinen homerun and a three-hit outbreak by Gabi Martinez. Kali Magane (4-5) pitched a complete game, allowing one run on five hits and striking out two.
After the two-game stand, the scarlet and white ventured to Long Beach State to take part in the host school’s three-day tournament.
On Thursday’s double-header, the Terriers lost twice in close contests. After stumbling out of the gate against Eastern Michigan, BU faced a four-run deficit entering the third inning. And, much like a number of games earlier this season, the Terriers responded in the late innings.
Three straight batters reached base before a hit by pitch and a subsequent walk cut the lead to two. A batter later, Alex Heinen hit a sacrifice fly to bring the Terriers within one. However, a line out and pop out ended the BU rally.
Later that day, the Terriers took a 4-2 lead into the sixth, before a four-run inning by Long Beach State bested BU. The deciding frame truly began on a two-run triple that tied the score between the two squads. Back-to-back singles two batters later gave Long Beach a lead they would not relinquish.
Friday’s doubleheader was a hopeful one for the scarlet and white, who split the day but were striking distance from sweeping. In the first contest, San Diego State handed the Terriers a crushing defeat, 11-10, in extra innings.
With both teams striking for four runs in the game’s first three innings, both offenses exploded in the contest. Trailing 7-4 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Terriers rallied with an RBI double from Heinen and a two-run knock by Alexa Ponce that was scored as an error on the San Diego shortstop.
In the top of the eighth, San Diego State would not be deterred. Striking for four unearned runs off of Makinna Akers (3-3), the Aztecs again took a commanding lead, this time 11-7. And while BU rallied for three runs in the bottom of the frame, a Martinez RBI single was not enough to bring the Terriers to victory.
BU rode the offensive momentum they garnered in the first game of their Friday doubleheader to a victory against Cal State Fullerton later in the afternoon. The Terriers struck early, stretching across four runs on three hits and a pair of efforts to go up early. And while Cal State Fullerton responded with timely runs throughout the contest, Moriah Connolly’s run in the top of the seventh sealed the 5-4 victory for BU.
However, the progress made on Friday was all but nullified on Saturday as the Terriers were outscored 11-2 in a pair of losses.
In the opening contest against No. 10 UCLA, a four-run third inning and a two-run fifth buried BU in the 6-1 loss. The Terriers managed just four hits in the contest and scored their lone run in the bottom of the first. The Bruins twice crushed two-run homers – one in the third, one in the fifth.
In the rematch with Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, the Terriers fell 5-1 and managed three hits – including Heinen’s sixth inning homerun. Conversely, Cal State recorded 11 hits and scored all their runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings.
Now the Terriers will enjoy a week off to shake off the jet lag before returning to Boston for a date with Bryant University on March 22. After that, BU will begin Patriot League play with a road trip to Bethlehem, Penn. for a two-game series with the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.