The Boston University softball team brought its record .500 as the Terriers went a combined 7-5 in the Under Armour Showcase and the Michele Smith Spring Break Tournament.
The week and two competitions were full of accomplishments for the Terriers (11-10). Freshman pitcher Makinna Akers tossed her first complete-game victory that included five strikeouts. Senior outfielder Jayme Mask also contributed the solid stretch, breaking the Patriot League single-game record with five stolen bases in a game against Cleveland State University.
“We mixed up the lineup defensively and offensively and I think some people stepped up,” said BU coach Kathryn Gleason. “It’s a learning curve, but we’re starting to learn who we’re going to be.”
BU’s first game of spring break came against the University of Toledo. Sophomore pitcher Lauren Hynes allowed six runs in 4.2 innings in a 6-2 Terrier loss.
In the second game of the day against Southern Illinois University, the team rebounded, winning in walk-off fashion, 7-6. Senior shortstop Brittany Clendenny delivered the game-winning single that scored junior outfielder Emily Felbaum.
Cleveland State (10-10) and Villanova University proved to be tougher challenges for the Terriers, as both teams defeated BU by the same score of 5-3. Against Cleveland State, Hynes went the distance, striking out seven hitters, but her efforts did not prove enough against the Vikings.
During its matchup with Providence College, the BU offense registered 18 hits and 10 runs to assist Akers in her first complete game in the 10-2 thrashing of the Friars (0-10).
“Lauren and Makinna had to step up the last two weeks and they’ve done that,” Gleason said. “Just like the rest of the team, they’re growing and learning how to pitch and not just throw. They’ve given us a chance, all we ask is for them to give us a ground ball and we’ll pick it up or give us a fly ball and we’ll catch it.”
BU finished the Under Armour showcase with back-to-back 9-1 victories over Cleveland State and Quinnipiac University. The wins included a four-RBI performance from Clendenny and a three-RBI game from junior outfielder Mandy Fernandez.
The Terriers then moved on to the Michele Smith Spring Break Tournament and began the stretch with a 3-2 loss to Seton Hall University. The BU offense struggled in that contest, mustering just four hits.
After that loss, the Terriers reeled off three consecutive victories. One of the wins during the win streak was 10-2 victory over the University of Maine where Clendenny and freshman third basemen Brittany Younan each drove in three runs.
That streak also included nine scoreless innings from Hynes, which lowered her ERA to 4.72. She also won her team-leading game of the year.
Between the two tournaments, BU penciled in multiple different lineups, but Gleason said the order is becoming more set as the season wears on.
“I think it depends who’s on the mound,” Gleason said of the lineups. “We moved the infield around a little and the outfield a little, but I think we’re getting into a batting order. I always tell the team not to get married to a spot in the lineup because it can change but we’re becoming more consistent.”
The final game of the tournament concluded with a 7-0 loss at the hands of Butler University. In that game, the Terriers only had one hit and struck out 10 times against pitcher Kristin Gutierrez.
Even though they were shut out by the Bulldogs (7-15), the Terriers have still averaged 5.2 runs per game throughout the season. Gleason said the offense has been one of the strengths of the team this year.
“I think offensively they’ve carried us until our pitching and defense caught up,” Gleason said. “When you get to live games sometimes you don’t know how the offense will play, and usually they have to take time to adjust. But this time around it was our defense that needed to play on dirt to adjust.”
With the Terriers back on the winning side of things, Gleason said she hopes the team found an identity while playing in the Florida sun.
“Our pitching and defense made strides this week,” Gleason said. “I think we have a sense of who we are and 21 games in, out of 56, I was hoping that would happen.”