As Sunday afternoon came to a close, the Boston University softball team came away with a three-game sweep over the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Not only was it the first time the Terriers (14-20-1, 5-4 America East) recorded a sweep this season, but it was also their first series victory .
“It feels really good,” said BU coach Kathryn Gleason. “It’s not easy to sweep. It’s not easy to play the same team three times in a row. It’s a big confidence booster going into these next two weeks.”
To start off the series against UMBC (8-32, 1-11 America East), the Terriers sent out senior pitcher Whitney Tuthill to the circle. Although Tuthill gave up a single in the first to UMBC freshman Taylor Hall, she excelled from then on out, giving up no hits for the rest of the game. Tuthill looked as sharp as ever in her five innings of work, striking out five hitters and walking none.
Although Tuthill was strong in her effort, the real story in the first game of the series was the offense.
With two outs in the first, junior third baseman Megan Volpano and junior catcher Amy Ekart worked out back-to-back walks. Senior second baseman Emily Roesch brought in Volpano with an infield hit and junior shortstop Brittany Clendenny plated home two more with a double, giving the Terriers an early 3-0 advantage.
“In the first inning we scored all three runs with two outs,” Gleason said. “That’s the heart and soul of this team. That’s what we want to do. We wanted to get more walks. It was great to score early and build upon that.”
The Terriers added another run in the second after junior center fielder Jayme Mask walked, stole second and scored on an Ekart single.
Stealing bases became a theme for the day, as Mask stole a team-record four bases, and the Terriers stole seven as a unit, also a record-setting feat.
“I didn’t know the school record was seven until after the game,” Gleason said. “That was pretty neat to find out.”
BU added three more in the fourth on an RBI single by freshman first baseman Lauren Hynes and a two-run homer by Ekart.
In the fifth inning, Mask scored on a wild pitch and the Terriers came away with a mercy-rule victory in game one.
Hynes got the start in the circle for BU in the second contest and pitched admirably. She went six innings, allowed only four hits and struck out one en route to the victory.
Despite the great effort from Hynes, the first inning did not go well for her and the Terriers. She struggled to settle in right away and gave up two early hits to UMBC, one of them being an RBI single by third baseman Courtney Reinfeld.
In the second inning, the Terriers tied the score on an RBI groundout from junior first baseman Chelsea Kehr.
The score remained the same until the fifth inning, as Hynes and UMBC pitcher Heather Brown battled it out in the circle.
With the score remaining 1-1 in the sixth, the Terriers finally broke through with their first lead of the game, as Mask brought in sophomore pinch runner Kendra Meadows, giving the Terriers a 2-1 advantage.
The final inning of the game saw the Terriers turn to their ace, Tuthill, to close it out, which she did, earning her first save of the year and the Terriers’ second victory of the series.
“We just wanted to bring in Whitney to close the door,” Gleason said.
The final game of the series saw a pitching rematch of the second game, as Hynes faced Brown again. The game played out very much the same, as the contest was another low-scoring affair.
After both teams were scoreless through two, BU finally got on the scoreboard first when Mask singled in Meadows, giving the Terriers a 1-0 lead.
Hynes did not relinquish this lead, as she went 5.2 innings and struck out five.
Although she was in control for most of the dogfight, the Retrievers got runners on first and second with two outs in the sixth, threatening the BU lead. However, Gleason went to Tuthill again. Tuthill forced a groundout, ending the UMBC threat.
In the bottom of the inning, the Terriers added some insurance, scoring two runs on hits from Ekart and Roesch.
Despite a homer in the seventh, Tuthill held strong and helped the Terriers earn their third win in a row.
“We had a great practice on Thursday,” Gleason said. “We really picked up the intensity and I think it really carried over into this weekend. Hopefully we can carry that over into the next few weeks.”