Over the past week, the Boston University softball team has completed three series sweeps.
The Terriers topped Providence College in a two-game stint on Wednesday before defeating rival Boston College for the second time this season on Thursday. Most recently, conference foe University of Hartford came to the BU Softball Field, where BU set the Hawks back by taking all three wins.
BU (33-13, 11-3 America East) gained its first victory over the Hawks (9-39, 3-12 America East) by virtue of an offensively lackluster 1-0 decision. Junior Siera Sheehan of Hartford relinquished only one hit to the Terriers, and junior Whitney Tuthill gave up two to the Hawks. Ultimately, it was the Terriers’ greater abilities to put the ball in play and put runners on base that won the game.
Sheehan walked six over the course of the game, one of which was given to sophomore center fielder Chelsea O’Connor when she led off in the second inning. O’Connor made her way to third base with help from classmate Chelsea Kehr’s sacrifice bunt and a grounder by junior Emily Roesch. After sophomore catcher Amy Ekart also reached on a walk, the two classmates on the base paths executed a double steal to bring O’Connor home and score the only run of the game.
Tuthill found herself in a hole toward the end of the matchup, as a double and two walks had the bases loaded against her with only one out. However, a play at home and a routine grounder ended the threat and the game.
The Terriers’ second victory came in a much more swift and easy fashion. Fueled by an eight-run second inning, BU took the game in five by virtue of the NCAA mercy rule. Sophomore shortstop Brittany Clendenny hit a grand slam in the productive second inning, while five other Terriers had a single RBI in the 11-1 win. Tuthill picked up the win in this game as well, giving up four hits, no earned runs and striking out six.
BU coach Shawn Rychcik said he is pleased with the team’s ability to put up big wins in spite of some late-season difficulties the players have endured.
“To be continuing winning being where we’re at, I’m pretty proud of the girls,” Rychcik said. “We’ve been able to endure all our injuries and our struggles in the tough time of the year right now with school and stuff for everybody.”
Sunday’s game followed the recurring trend of close decisions that the Terriers have experienced throughout the year. Each team garnered five hits, but only BU capitalized on its baserunners and scored.
Sophomore third baseman Megan Volpano led the Terriers with two hits – a single and a double – as well as one RBI. Freshman designated hitter Mandy Fernandez drove in the other run in the 2-0 win when she brought O’Connor home with a deep double that landed at the base of the fence.
Hartford again loaded the bases in the seventh inning, but Tuthill came in as relief for classmate Erin Schuppert and forced the final batter to hit a lazy fly ball to left field.
Rychcik said he has noticed a recurring theme among his team’s matchups against struggling opponents.
“We’ve been lulled it seems; we aren’t playing our best against lesser teams,” Rychcik said. “I don’t know if that’s just the way it is, but you know it wasn’t our best but I’m happy we got three [wins]. Good teams find a way to win.”
The three wins over Hartford keeps BU within range of a regular season America East title, though Stony Brook University and University at Albany are each ahead of the Terriers.
“We’re in a good spot,” Rychcik said. “We’re where we are supposed to be: We’re competing for the conference championship at the end of the season. The way the scheduling falls, we face a couple of other teams that aren’t really competing for it at the end. . . . We take care of our business and see where we end up with things.”