One constant for the Boston University softball team this season has been the team’s inconsistent offensive play. Although the Terriers have an outstanding record and stand neck and neck with the University at Albany and Stony Brook University at the top of America East, all season long the team has displayed a serious amount of difficulty in keeping offensive play steady.
“Each game is different,” said BU coach Shawn Rychcik. “I’ve said to the girls out there, ‘We’ve won games with a home run, we’ve won them with the bunt, we’ve won them 1-0, we’ve won them 9-8. We’ve won them every way.’”
Even in this weekend’s sweep of America East opponent Hartford University, the Terriers demonstrated that versatility. After winning the first game of the series 1-0, scoring only in the bottom of the second inning, BU defeated Hartford 11-1 in five innings in the second game of the doubleheader. But this offensive power would not last, as the Terriers scraped together a 2-0 win over Hartford in the final game of the series Sunday afternoon.
“We had a couple of hard hit balls,” Rychcik said. “I got a couple thrown out today a little bit . . . We never really had a lot of chances [Sunday]. We had one big hit.”
This was not the first series in which BU’s offense swung wildly between nearly unstoppable and struggling. Earlier this season, BU experienced similar difficulties in a series against conference rival Albany, defeating them 13-2 in the first game of a three-game series before edging out a 3-1 win and dropping the final game 6-4.
Although BU won both of those series against conference opponents, the inability to produce runs at times has hurt the Terriers. After defeating Bryant University 13-3 in a slugfest in which the Terriers hit a team-record 19 hits, BU fell to the Bulldogs 3-2 in the teams’ second meeting of the season, unable to replicate the offensive power.
“We’ve kind of gone through different types of games,” Rychcik said. “And that’s just kind of how it is.
What has, however, remained constant for the Terriers is the ability of their pitchers to work with the runs their offense has put up. Out of the Terriers’ 33 wins so far this season, 10 of them have been shutouts. Of those 10, seven have occurred during games in which the BU offense scored three or less runs.
“Good teams find a way to win,” Rychcik said. “And we’re winning. We are what our record says. That’s who we are. . . . And now there’s no disguising we did this or we didn’t do that.”
Of the Terriers 33 wins, 15 have been in games in which the offense did not score more than three runs.
But fortunately for BU, the offense is picked up when need be by the pitching staff, which has held off its opponents all season long, even as the team struggles to score.
Ultimately though, Rychcik said he wonders how important these inconsistencies really are. While he said he recognizes the difficulties the Terriers have sometimes had in scoring, he also recognizes that in the end, what really matters is getting a win. And that’s something the Terriers are in large supply of.
“You’d think you’d want to win 8-0 every game,” Rychcik said. “But it isn’t always the way. And you’ve got to find a win in the 1-0 games and the 2-0 games when you’re not playing your best. And we’ve managed to do that, so from that standpoint I’m real happy about that.”