After playing its first 22 games in either Florida or Tennessee, the Boston University softball team continued playing in the heat thanks to the uncharacteristically warm weather of Smithfield, R.I., Wednesday afternoon.
In their first matchup since the official beginning of spring, the Terriers (15-8) rejoiced over a record-breaking performance. In a 13-3 victory over Bryant University, the Terriers scattered 19 hits, two more than the record set nearly 20 years ago by the 1993 team.
Six players contributed RBI’s in the season-high 13-run effort.
The Bulldogs (4-13) collected only as many hits as they had runs due to a solid – though initially rocky – pitching performance from junior Erin Schuppert. The junior struck out four batters in seven innings of work.
“[Schuppert] actually had a couple of rough innings early on and then kind of settled down,” said BU coach Shawn Rychcik. “The offense was there for [Schuppert] and she ended up getting a complete game out of it.”
Schuppert gave up a homer to the first batter she faced, but the BU offense mitigated the blow by drawing blood earlier in the inning. The Terriers picked up three runs on an RBI single, a sacrifice fly and a fielding error.
Bryant put up another run in the second, but BU yet again overpowered the home team’s production with two more runs. In the first two innings alone, the Terriers racked up seven hits.
BU gathered two more runs in the fourth inning, and three in each the sixth and seventh. The team’s ability to put the bat on the ball was proven not only by the record number of hits, but also by the zero strikeouts suffered on offense.
Rychcik was more impressed with the individual plate appearances of his players than the collective offensive performance.
“We had real quality at bats today,” Rychcik said. “We worked some counts, got to some good hitting counts, and then when we got good pitches, we really did jump on them.”
The Terriers were selective, but they were by no means too patient. In 42 plate appearances, only two resulted in a walk. Of the starting nine players in BU’s lineup, seven had at least one hit and six had at least two.
Sophomores Chelsea O’Connor and Amy Ekart each finished with three hits and two RBI’s. Classmate Jayme Mask played a major role from her spot as the leadoff hitter. The right fielder stole two bases and scored three runs to go with her three hits.
Freshman Mandy Fernandez had a breakout performance, going 2-for-2 with a home run and a game-high four RBIs. Fernandez pinch-hit for sophomore Chelsea Kehr, who started the day as the Terriers’ designated hitter.
O’Connor also had a homerun for the Terriers.
“It was a nice outing for us, offensively,” Rychcik said. “Nobody tried to over-do it; just take the bases, and hit line-drives. If you hit one out of the park, then you hit one out of the park.”
If Schuppert could derive confidence from the offensive approach of the Terriers, she certainly could have done the same from the fielders behind her. Defensively, the Terriers were flawless on the diamond, making 17 putouts on 17 attempts.
“There were quite a few balls put in play by the other team,” Rychcik said. “And all the balls we had chances for, we made plays on.”
BU plays its first home game Thursday at 4 p.m. against Boston College. This acts as the first of a four-game home stand the Terriers will compete in over the next four days.