Until Caitlyn Brooks stepped up to the plate, Boston College softball held the lead.
In the top of the seventh, with one out and the University of Notre Dame trailing 5-3, Brooks was up at bat. Teammate Aly Wester stood at first, watching closely. Brooks watched one pitch fly by her—a ball. But she liked the next pitch and swung well, connecting for a two-run shot to erase BC’s lead and tie the game up at five apiece.
It all went downhill from there, as the Eagles surrendered four runs in the top of the eighth to give the Fighting Irish the lead and, eventually, a 9-5 win. With the win, Notre Dame (33-21, 13-11 Atlantic Coast) knocked BC (31-22, 14-9) out of the ACC Tournament.
The game started out on a high note for BC. In the bottom of the first, the Eagles took an early lead. Taylor Coroneos reached base with a single through the middle of the infield, then Annie Murphy doubled, sending her to third. With two runners in scoring position, it seemed inevitable that the Eagles would score—and they did, but it was thanks to Notre Dame. Pitcher Rachel Nasland threw a wild pitch, allowing Coroneos to steal home and Murphy to advance to third. Then Chloe Sharabba singled, but the Irish muffed the play—Sharabba safely reached first, then took second as Murphy safely reached home.
Notre Dame didn’t find the scoreboard until the third, but it tied the game up at 2-2 when it did score. Morgan Reed doubled, then Melissa Rochford singled. With two runners on base, Kimmy Sullivan poked a single down the right field line, scoring both Reed and Rochford and tying the game up.
Undeterred, the Eagles recaptured the lead in the bottom of the third. Coroneos started the inning off well for BC with a triple into right field. Murphy worked a full count, then landed a single into left center, sending Coroneos home for the go-ahead run. Tatiana Cortez drove Murphy in later in the inning with a single to right center.
In the fifth, BC cushioned its lead once again when Sharabba homered to center field. Riding a 5-2 lead in the ACC Tournament, the Eagles seemed well-positioned to earn the victory. But Notre Dame was ready to rally.
In the sixth, Sullivan tripled, then safely reached home on an RBI single from teammate Madison Heide. The Irish had cut into BC’s lead, but the Eagles still held a multi-run advantage—until Brooks came to the plate in the seventh.
After Brooks’ game-tying homer, the Eagles struggled to find a rhythm offensively. In the bottom of the seventh BC went three up, three down, despite having a dominant part of the lineup up at bat in Coroneos, Murphy, and Sharabba.
The eighth was a rough inning for the Eagles. Katie Marino safely reached first off of a bunt thanks to an error, then teammate Sara White laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance her to third. Heide was hit by a pitch and Karley Wester was intentionally walked. Ali Wester was then walked, too, sending Marino home for an unearned run, giving Notre Dame its first lead of the game at 6-5.
With the bases still loaded, Reed poked a single into left field. She drove in Heide and Karley Wester, cushioning Notre Dame’s lead. On the next play, Brooks singled, too, driving Ali Wester home and finalizing the game’s score at 9-5.
With the loss, the Eagles were eliminated from the ACC Tournament. If they don’t get a bid into the NCAA Tournament on Sunday evening, their season is over.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor