UMass softball beats Boston College in a comeback thriller

A go-ahead homerun from Jules Shields secures the win

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Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

By Aidan Deschaine, Collegian Correspondent

In the top of the seventh inning, the Massachusetts softball team trailed Boston College 5-3 on the road. Following back-to-back walks by Giana Wameling and Chloe Whittier, Jules Shields stepped up to the plate. Shields struck a high flyball to left center field for a three-run homer, putting the Minutewomen (9-17, 1-5 Atlantic 10) ahead 6-5.

It was the Shields show all night in Chestnut Hill on Wednesday night. The senior left fielder ended the game 3-for-4, all three hits being for extra bases. She also ended the game with five of UMass’ six runs batted in.

“[Shields] did great today, she got a lot of RBIs for us, and that hit at the end of the game was huge,” head coach Danielle Henderson said. “She’s been hitting well for us, but I thought this was probably the most that she’s come through.”

For the Eagles (16-14, 1-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), most of the runs came in the bottom of the fourth. Kamryn Warman blasted a long base hit to the base of the center field wall, scoring one. Meghan Schouten followed up with an RBI base hit of her own, which was enough for Henderson to bring in freshman Natalee Horton to replace senior starter Jessie DiPasquale.

Horton allowed two hits and one run in four innings pitched, which came from a sacrifice fly by Warman in the bottom of the fifth. Maddy Carpe singled down the third base line for an RBI, although the run was DiPasquale’s. The fourth and final run of the inning came on a two-out passed ball in which Schouten scored.

DiPasquale went right at batters from the jump. She pitched a quick first inning going three-up, three-down with help from Abby Packard, who made an impressive backhand play on a ground ball up the middle to get the first out of the inning.

“Something we’ve been talking about with our pitchers, particularly this week [is to] attack them through the strike zone or in the corners and go after the batters,” Henderson said. “I thought both of our pitchers threw really well today.”

Boston College’s Sofia Earle started the game in the circle. The lefty entered the game with a 3.98 ERA and dealt three innings for the Eagles. She walked one and struck out two before Bella Pantoja hit a lead-off triple in the top of the fourth, putting an end to Earle’s outing.

Abby Dunning came in relief for BC and pitched the last four innings. She allowed four hits along with four walks to go with her two strikeouts.

Shields wasn’t the only Minutewoman to record multiple hits, as Wameling also recorded two base hits to go with her three runs.

This marks the second win in a row for UMass, which will come back to Amherst for its first home game of the season. It will be a doubleheader against Saint Louis on Saturday, April 1, and the Minutewomen’s third series of conference play. First pitch for game one is at 12 p.m., while first pitch for game two is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Aidan Deschaine can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Aidan14468062.