The Jackets’ softball team began ACC play this past weekend by dropping two out of three at home against the Boston College Eagles. Although starting the weekend strong by defeating the Eagles in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday 6-1, the Lady Jackets lost in the second game 13-3 in five innings. On Sunday, the Eagles took the rubber match from the Jackets in a hard fought game 6-2 by scoring four runs in the top of the seventh inning. After the series, the Jackets now have a record of 11-4 overall and are 1-2 in ACC play.
In the first game, the Jackets took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning, building on the lead throughout the game and playing errorless softball before winning 6-1 behind the strength of three two run homers. Junior Kylie Kleinschmidt led the way for the Jackets by allowing only one earned run and giving up four hits while pitching a complete game and earning the win.
Offensively, senior catcher Alysha Rudnik set the tone early for the Jackets with a two run homerun in the bottom of the first inning that gave the Jackets the lead for good and hit her second home run of the day when she came up to bat in the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore Maddie Lionberger added the third and final homer for the Jackets in the second.
“We were very focused in that game and wanted to set the tone of ACC play,” said Tech Head Coach Shelly Hoerner.
However, game two of the Saturday double-header turned out to be much more of a challenge for the Jackets. The Jackets started off solid, and the game was tied up at zero heading to the third. But in the top of the third, Boston College struck for five runs behind the five hits that put the Eagles ahead for good. The Jackets chipped away at the lead as they scored one run in the bottom of the third thanks to a solo homerun from senior Ashley Thomas and added two more in the fourth to narrow the lead to 5-3.
But this was not enough as the Eagles scored eight more runs on five hits in the fifth inning to completely put the game out of reach. The Jackets played a fundamentally sound game yet again, committing only one error, yet they could not overcome the ten hits the Eagles had on the day. Freshman Kanani Cabrales took the loss for the Jackets, pitching 4.1 innings and giving up nine earned runs while Lionberger led the way offensively with two RBIs.
The Jackets came out Sunday needing to win the game in order to garner a series win over the Eagles. It was a close game, with neither team leading by more than two runs until the seventh inning. The Jackets took an early lead when Junior Katie Johnsky drove home Thomas and held the lead until the fifth inning when the Eagles scored two runs to take a 2-1 lead. The Jackets fought back in the bottom of the fifth with Lionberger hitting a home run to tie the game at two apiece.
However, in the seventh inning, the game slipped away from the Jackets as they committed an error, allowed three hits and gave up four runs.
This allowed the Eagles to increase their lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, and the Jackets weren’t able to mount a comeback, losing the game 6-2. The Jackets had yet another solid game from Kleinschmidt (now 8-1) on the mound as she suffered her first loss of the season while giving up just two earned runs in a complete game effort.