With a 7-2 win over Boston College and an 8-0 victory over Sacred Heart University, the Boston University softball team extended its winning streak to a season-high six games during the weekend.
The Terriers (17-20-1, 5-4 America East) swept the University of Maryland-Baltimore County in a three-game series to jumpstart their winning trend. They followed their success against the Retrievers (8-34, 1-13 America East) with an emotional 8-6 victory over Bryant University the day after the Boston Marathon bombings.
With an improved offense and winning streak on the line, the Terriers traveled to Chestnut Hill Thursday afternoon to take on the Eagles (11-30) in their final meeting of the year.
It was a quiet start for both teams, but BU struck first in the top of the third. Sophomore left fielder Emily Felbaum hit a triple to deep center and junior center fielder Jayme Mask brought her home on a single to left center.
The Eagles quickly responded in the bottom half of the third with a home run by third baseman Jessie Daulton.
In the next inning, BU exploded offensively and put up three more runs to give senior pitcher Whitney Tuthill a nice cushion. Juniors third baseman Megan Volpano, catcher Amy Ekart, shortstop Brittany Clendenny, first baseman Chelsea Kehr and freshman right fielder Haley King all contributed in the three-run rally for the Terriers.
After a quiet bottom of the fourth for BC, BU continued its success from the last inning as Volpano got things started with a double to left field. Ekart then moved her over with a single. A stolen base by Ekart and a throwing error by catcher Meg Scanlon moved her over to third base, scoring Volpano and increasing the BU lead to four runs.
A sacrifice fly by senior second baseman Emily Roesch scored Ekart, putting the Terriers ahead 6-1 at the end of the fifth.
In the top of the seventh, Roesch scored on an error, giving the Terriers a commanding 7-1 lead.
With the lead and a secure defense behind her, the rest of the game was in the hands of Tuthill and BC hitters. The dominant Tuthill won that battle, only surrendering one more run to the Eagles in the bottom of the seventh before shutting them down for good and leading her team to a 7-2 victory.
“The last three games we’ve had 12 or 14 hits each game, and I think it’s because of the mindset with which we go into each at bat,” said BU coach Kathryn Gleason. “Free and loose — and it’s contagious throughout the lineup. It’s a different mindset than earlier.”
After their win against BC, the Terriers were supposed to travel to Fairfield, Conn., to play three games, a Saturday doubleheader against Fairfield University and a Sunday afternoon game against Sacred Heart (20-23).
As a result of the manhunt in Watertown and requested shelter in place in Boston Friday, the doubleheader scheduled for Saturday afternoon was cancelled.
“It was a decision that we made on our end,” Gleason said. “We felt that it was in our best interest not to travel and be exhausted and in the right frame of mind.”
However, the Terriers proceeded with their Sunday afternoon game against Sacred Heart.
This time around, BU jumped on the opposing pitcher early. To start the game, Mask reached on an error and then stole second. Freshman designated hitter Lauren Hynes moved her over on a sacrifice bunt, and a groundout by Volpano sent Mask across home plate.
After scoring another run in the third, BU’s offense came alive once again as it continued to extend its lead in the fourth inning. Roesch started off the inning by reaching on an error by third baseman Kate Nadler. Following an out by Kehr, King singled and the Terriers threatened once again. Thanks to a wild pitch and hits from Hynes and Mask, BU took a 5-0 lead.
As she did all game, Tuthill continued to shut down the Pioneer batters late, and in the top of the seventh, BU prevented any chance of a Sacred Heart comeback. Singles from Hynes and Ekart, a double from Roesch and a triple from King resulted in another three runs in favor of the Terriers.
Tuthill, who only gave up two hits going into the bottom of the seventh, proceeded to send the Pioneers down in order, closing out an 8-0 win for BU and extending its win streak to six games.
“Whitney did a great job today,” Gleason said of her pitcher. “The two hits they had were little dinkers, and she kept them off balance all game.”
With the six-game winning streak, the Terriers have made a huge turnaround since beginning the season 2-7.