No. 1 Cal Eliminates Softball after Thrilling 4-3 Extra-Inning Win over Iona

GO TERRIERS Sophomore Amy Ekart caught all 19 innings Saturday and drove in the winning run against Iona.
Sophomore Amy Ekart caught all 19 innings Saturday and drove in the winning run against Iona.

May 19, 2012

Iona Box Score (W, 4-3 / 13 inn.) | Cal Box Score (L, 8-0 / 6 inn.)

Watch Press Conference | NCAA Tournament Central 

BERKELEY, Calif. - Facing elimination in the NCAA Regional, America East softball champion Boston University earned a thrilling 4-3 victory over MAAC champion Iona in 13 innings before seeing its season end at the hands of No. 1 California late Saturday night at Levine-Fricke Field.

Defeating the Gaels (35-26) with a run in the bottom of the ninth and 13th inning, respectively, the Terriers (41-16) picked up their fourth NCAA victory in the last three tournament appearances (2009, 2010, 2012) to finish with the second most wins in program history.

Immediately following the win over Iona, BU faced a Golden Bear squad that was looking to bounce back in front of the home crowd after an earlier 3-2 loss to Arkansas. Featuring the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year in Jolene Henderson, California (52-5) pulled out an 8-0 win in six innings off 10 hits while striking out 11 Terriers to advance to the Regional Championship Final on Sunday against the Razorbacks.

Junior Whitney Tuthill (15-6) pitched a combined 10 innings, picking up both the win and loss. After sophomore Holli Floetker held the Gaels to two runs in six innings, Tuthill went seven, allowing eight hits and just one run. She followed up against the Golden Bears with two runs, one unearned, off four hits in three innings. 

Sophomore Amy Ekart caught all 19 innings on the day and went 2-of-6 against Iona, scoring the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth before driving home junior Emily Roesch from third for the thrilling victory.    

BU jumped on the board first in the bottom of the first inning when sophomore Brittany Clendenny singled to right field, scoring sophomore Megan Volpano. After the Gaels tied the game in the top of the fifth, the Terriers took the lead back in the bottom with sophomore Jayme Mask reaching home from second on a single up the middle by Volpano. 

The Gaels rallied in the top of the sixth to tie the game with help from the Terriers. After loading the bases with three singles, Iona scored on a wild pitch. Floetker though recovered quickly by earning a strikeout and inducing a ground out to short. 

After leaving three on base in the eighth against Tuthill, Iona grabbed its first lead of the game in the top of the ninth inning. Pitcher Alyssa Maiese singled home the potential game-winning run with an infield single to short. 

Having already pitched eight innings, Maiese returned to the circle looking to shut down BU. She started off with a fly out and strikeout. On a 1-0 count, Ekart hit a soft shot to third, but the Gaels threw it away, allowing Ekart to reach third, as the ball reached no man's land down the right field line. One strike away from the end of the game, senior Melanie Delgado put contact on the ball toward second. She ran her heart out to beat the throw at first, as Ekart scored to tie the game, 3-3.

Both squads had their chances following the ninth inning, but it wasn't until the bottom of the 13th that BU was able to put the game away. The Terriers had runners at third and second following back-to-back singles by sophomore Chelsea O'Connor and Roesch and a wild pitch. Batting with two outs and a 2-2 count, Ekart went up the middle for the game winner.

In the second game of the night, No. 1 Cal pulled ahead in the second inning off a solo shot to left by Victoria Jones. The Golden Bears went on to run-rule their 20th opponent of the season. Casacci, Clendenny and sophomore Chelsea Kehr picked up singles in the loss.

Concluding head coach Shawn Rychcik's eighth year at the helm, the Terriers will return 14 of the 17 players, including the entire pitching staff. Highlights of the season included the program claiming its ninth America East title and wins over then-No. No. 23 Syracuse and 25 South Florida. 

Berkeley Regional Post-Game Press Conference Quotes

May 19, 2012

Boston University Press Conference

BU Head Coach Shawn Rychcik

Opening Statement:

"It was an interesting day. We got an opportunity to keep our season alive, and we get into an emotional 13-inning game. I think we were down in the 10th inning, and we get a big hit on the brink of elimination and we got the win. Then we had to play the number one team in the country, and there is a good reason they are. It was a good opportunity for our program, and I'm really proud of our girls."

On coming back after the extra-inning game to face Cal:

"We got a chance to have a break and get some snacks to get refocused. I think it was unfortunate because we had momentum, but Cal is a great team and [playing Cal] slows things down. A lot of things had to go right for us to get by them tonight. Arkansas stirred the beehive by beating them, so it was unfortunate to be the opponent to play them next."

On the season as a whole:

"That's three consecutive trips to the regional with wins, so I think the program is going in the right direction. It's been a great year. We've beaten a lot of good teams and played well against a lot of good competition. We were able to come out here and represent our conference and school really well."

Sophomore Cather Amy Ekart

Hit against Iona to beat the Gaels:

"Considering it was the 13th inning, we were just looking for something in play. I was just looking for something to hit, and I took it back up the middle."

On her catching performance against Iona:

"Our game plan against Iona was to mix speeds and keep the ball on the ground. Both of our pitchers pitched great, and Iona wasn't able to move runners along."

Junior Pitcher Whitney Tuthill

Pitching in extra innings against Iona:

"Well we have been there before at Maine. I wasn't nervous but thought we would win sooner. Once we took the lead I was a little nervous, but once we got that last run I knew we would end up winning."



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