After squeaking past Binghamton University with a couple of wins in a doubleheader last Saturday, the Boston University softball team returned to the BU Softball Field for a third match against the Bearcats on Sunday.
The two late-game comebacks kept both sophomore Holli Floetker and junior Whitney Tuthill somewhat fatigued overnight, and BU coach Shawn Rychcik decided to give the starting nod to junior hurler Erin Schuppert.
Before stepping on the mound Sunday, Schuppert had pitched the least of the three in the rotation. She had totaled 29 innings-over the course of six games and held a record of 2-3. However, this past weekend, Schuppert was the team’s ace, as she threw her way to her third shutout win, and the Terriers came away with a 3-0 victory.
“It’s good to see [Schuppert] kind of getting it going now,” Rychcik said. “She got a win at Bryant . . . and then [came] back today in the conference and [won] the final game.”
In the top of the first, Schuppert quickly subdued Binghamton. The first two batters struck out swinging, and the third managed only to hit a weak foul-ball that was caught by sophomore third baseman Megan Volpano.
The Terrier offense drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning. A pair of hits and a Bearcat error led to three runs for the Terriers. The team was unable to score during the remainder of the game, but there was no need for extra padding as Schuppert kept the Bearcats at bay all game.
“We got runs early . . . and Erin came out and just kept shutting them down,” Rychcik said. “Today was a great effort from her on that part.”
The second inning was similar to the first for the Binghamton offense. Schuppert prevented the Bearcats from producing any base runners by striking out the side. The second went down swinging while the first and third hardly took the bat off their shoulders before being sent to the bench by called third strikes
In the third and fourth innings, the Bearcats warmed up to Schuppert and began to put the bat on the ball. Schuppert let up a single to catcher Lisa Cutrona, but the hit was surrounded by weak fly outs or lineouts hit right at the BU defense.
After another strikeout and a weak ground out, Bearcat third baseman Chelsea Horne whacked a double to right-center in the fifth inning. During the ensuing at bat, a pinch runner entered the game and attempted to steal third base, but was beat by the throw from sophomore catcher Amy Ekart. Not a single Bearcat advanced beyond second base over the course of the game.
Schuppert gave up her only walk of the game in the sixth inning, but the following six Binghamton batters went down in order, submissively.
Schuppert punctuated the sweep of Binghamton with an exclamation point by forcing the final two batters of the third victory to whiff on third strikes.
Schuppert, who was named the America East Pitcher of the Week on Monday, finished the game with nine strikeouts, allowing two hits, one walk and no runs. The nine strikeouts are a season high, and makes up for nearly a third of Schuppert’s total of 28 on the season. Her earned run average is now 3.75, and she maintains the lowest opponent batting average in the rotation with .197.
“Erin Schuppert was the name of today’s game. . . . That was probably her best game of the year – in a much needed time too,” Rychcik said. “It never gets old saying ‘Hey, nice pitching performance.’”