By: Matthew Doherty
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The Boston University softball team sent shockwaves throughout the collegiate softball world Saturday afternoon when they upset No. 1 and two-time defending national champion Oklahoma at the Troy Cox Classic in New Mexico.
BU trailed, 3-2, entering the sixth inning before plating the game-tying and go-ahead runs. Emily Morrow led off the decisive inning with an infield single; two consecutive errors allowed her to score. Junior Alex Ponce came home later in the inning on a sacrifice-fly from Kaitlin Sahlinger to give BU the lead.
Sophomore hurler Lizzie Annerino shut the door from there. She allowed the tying-runner to reach base in the bottom of the seventh, but recorded two consecutive fielders’ choices to propel BU to one of their biggest wins in program history.
Annerino pitched 4.2 scoreless innings of relief to pick up her first career collegiate victory.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” Coach Ashley Waters said of Annerino’s performance. “I told her after the game I don’t usually get emotional but this is something you want so badly for someone who has worked so hard. “
“To watch her go against the No. 1 team in the country, as a coach there’s so much pride in that. I can’t say enough about her. I’m so incredibly impressed at how far she’s come as a player.”
BU jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the second. Morrow doubled and scored later on a double from junior Emma Wong. With two outs, Sahlinger singled to center field to score Morrow and double the Terrier lead.
The bottom four of the lineup produced all four runs.
“I tell my kids all the time, one through 18, we’re strong,” Waters said. “We need everybody. I don’t care where you hit in my lineup, when you’re called upon to do your job, you’re prepared to do it. Honestly top to bottom we did a great job of that.”
Oklahoma got a run back in the home half of the inning on a throwing error off a double-steal. The Sooners took the lead in the bottom of the third off Cali Dolfi. One single and two doubles from the top of the OU order, put the top-ranked Sooners back in front.
But Annerino escaped a bases loaded jam later in the inning, and did the same in the fourth to keep the deficit at one.
The Terriers made just one error and recorded key outs in crucial situations all game long.
“I think we did a good job laying with pressure,” Waters said. “You can’t give them extra outs to work with. We needed to stand behind our pitchers and make outs. Everyone has to step up, and thats the difference between a win or a loss.”
Even after the tying runner got thrown out at the plate in the top of the fifth, BU responded with their two-run sixth against one of the top pitching staffs in the country. The Terriers still have at least 46 games left in the season, but they have already secured a marquee and program-defining victory.
“These kids work so hard, and I’m so happy for them,” Waters said. “They’re true student-athletes and I feel like any time there’s a win like this, it represents everyone who has gone through our program. There’s so much to be proud of.”
Waters said her team can use this win moving forward for confidence.
“I think it shows that we can contend and there’s going to be highs and lows, and ups and downs, but I think it’s a really great thing early on that shows this is what were capable of,” Waters said. “It’s the year of the dogs.”