The UConn softball team wanted to end its first homestand of the season on an extremely high note. The Huskies had won each of their first four home games in different ways, whether that was a walk-off single, walk-off home run in extra innings, scoring seven unanswered runs after allowing three in the first inning or a mercy rule via a nine-run fifth inning.
Boston University, entering Wednesday’s contest on an eight-game winning streak, had other plans.
The Terriers brought the pressure to the Huskies early. Caitlin Coker, Jen Horita and Kayla Roncin, who entered Wednesday’s contest fifth in the country in hits, each singled to load the bases and were looking for more. Elise Sokolsky did not waver, however, and got the next three hitters to fly out in the infield.
Briana Marcelino took advantage of a throwing error in the bottom half of the first by stealing her 19th base of the season, but that was all the Huskies could muster as the next three hitters were sent down in order.
Boston University continued to collect chances. The Terriers got two runners aboard in both the top of the second and the top of the third, but were unable to get a runner home as Sokolsky contained the offense both times. Sokolsky got Horita to fly out in the second and struck out Huerta-Leipner to end the third.
Aziah James looked to get some momentum going in the bottom of the third as she singled to the shortstop, but she was caught trying to steal second base. Contrary to Sunday’s contest, James was ruled out after further review. Marcelino followed suit with a single, but Reese Guevarra lined out to end the frame.
The Terriers pounced over the Huskies’ pitching in the top of the fourth. Sokolsky was relieved for Meghan O’Neil to begin the frame and she subsequently allowed each of the first four batters to get on base. Both Audrey Sellers started the damage with a single to the pitcher before Tyesha Williams singled to the left side. Coker walked and Horita got the Terriers on the board as Sellers beat out O’Neil’s throw to home plate.
Roncin struck out swinging, but during the at-bat, Williams touched home plate on a wild pitch to make it a 2-0 game. Emily Gant, the reigning Patriot League Player of the Week, followed that up by taking a
n 0-1 pitch beyond the centerfield wall to make it a 5-0 game. It was her third home run of the season.
That four-bagger knocked O’Neil out of the game and brought in Marybeth Olson. Lauren Keleher almost singled to left field to keep the offense going, but Lexi Hastings made the grab and then the slide for the second out of the inning. Olson got Nicole Amadio to pop out to end the frame, but the Terriers had shown both their bark and their bite.
The Huskies tried to respond behind a walk by Sami Barnett in the fourth and a single by James in the bottom of the fifth, but their two-out trip to first base went no further as Hastings grounded out to second base and Marcelino flied out to left field in the fourth and fifth respectively.
UConn’s best chance came in the bottom of the sixth inning. Rosie Garcia got the offense started with a double to left center after Guevarra grounded out. Barnett kept the inning alive after reaching on an error that allowed Garcia to advance to third. Hastings then provided the Huskies’ first run of the game with a single up the middle that brought in Garcia.
Now down 5-1, UConn wanted to keep the inning going as Giuliana Abruscato dropped a single into shallow right field, but Keleher snagged the ball and rifled it to home plate, where Sellers was waiting to tag Barnett out.
The Huskies were not going to go down without a fight. After Olson sent down the Terriers in order, Erika Coreth led off the bottom of the seventh with a bang as she launched a softball to deep center field. Her second home run of the season made it a 5-2 game, but the Huskies desperately needed more.
Marcelino worked a walk after James struck out swinging, and got to second base when Guevarra grounded out to third base. However, Lizzy Avery locked in and got Garcia swinging on a pitch that was low and away to give the Terriers their ninth straight win 5-2.
O’Neil took the loss after allowing five runs in the fourth, recording one strikeout and surrendering four hits. Olson sent down 11 consecutive Terrier batters while striking out five.
Sokolsky started the game for the Huskies, allowing no runs on five hits in three innings of work. She struck out three batters and has now pitched 13.2 innings in the last four games for Connecticut.
Allison Boaz dominated in six innings of work for the Terriers, allowing one run on six hits with four strikeouts. Lizzy Avery picked up the save, her second of the season, allowing one hit (the Coreth home run) and striking out two. Avery now stands at 107 strikeouts this season, good enough to be in the Top 50 nationally.
For the first time since March 5 against Oregon, the Huskies scored less than three runs. James provided most of the offense for UConn, going 2-3 at the plate. Gant did the most at the plate for the Terriers on her three-run home run in the top of the fourth as they improved their win streak to nine games.
The Huskies (18-12, 8-1 Big East) resume Big East play this weekend when they travel to Indianapolis, Indiana, for a three-game series against the Butler Bulldogs. The series kicks off Friday at 3 p.m. EDT (2 p.m. CDT) on ESPN+ with live stats provided by StatBroadcast.