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Softball producing extra-base hits during stretch

In the midst of a 11-game winning streak, the Boston University softball team is clicking on all cylinders. While the team has excelled both at the plate and on the mound, the most significant aspect of the Terriers’ stellar play may be their recent proclivity for producing extra-base hits.

The Terriers (30-18, 11-4 Patriot League) have had one of the most dynamic offenses in the Patriot League all year, but have been known more for their high average and speed around the bases rather than the long ball.

“The more you swing the better you get, and that’s what we’ve done all year,” said BU coach Kathryn Gleason. “All year we haven’t been known as an extra-base hit kind of team so it’s great.  Then I don’t have to use another trick in the bag.”

This recent surge has been led by senior shortstop Brittany Clendenny, who has three home runs in her last six games after having just one in the 42 games before.

All of Clendenny’s home runs came in crucial spots for the Terriers, including when she kicked off the Terriers’ four-run first inning against the University of Rhode Island on April 22.

Not only is Clendenny hitting more home runs, but she has also continued to lead the team in RBI, with 46 on the year,

Senior catcher Amy Ekart has also contributed to the streak, as she had a home run in BU’s 4-3 win over the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Monday afternoon to bring her season total to four.  Ekart credits the home run to her new approach at the plate this season.

“I’ve been more disciplined in my plate appearances,” Ekart said.  “I was just looking for something that I could stay back on and drive.  It was early in the game so [Lowell pitcher Handly Marielle] was trying to come to come in and I just drove it.”

Before this recent stretch of home runs, BU had been at the bottom of the Patriot League in that category despite leading the league in doubles placing second in triples.

“We haven’t had a lot of home runs in the month of April, so it’s great to have that and get a run on the board,” Gleason said.  “Brittany hit three over the weekend and each time they went a little bit farther.”

The Terriers have a different leader in each extra-base hit category.  Senior first baseman Chelsea Kehr has the most doubles with 16; freshmen infielders Brittany Younan and Moriah Connolly each have five triples, while Clendenny and Ekart each have four home runs.

Ekart said a major strength has been the team’s ability to get to opposing teams’ bullpen.

“Our biggest thing is staying consistent and looking for good pitches to hit. We’re better when we get deeper in counts and make the pitcher work.  We just need to keep feeding off each other.”

To go along with its tendency to push pitchers out of games early, the team also continues to excel with runners in scoring position with an average of .337, led by senior outfielder Jayme Mask, who has a .475 average in 15 at-bats.

This Terrier offense is one of, if not the best, in the conference, something Ekart attributes to the ability of the team to strike from anywhere in the lineup.

“First thing first it puts a run on the board and puts the pressure off.  Production comes from anywhere in our lineup.  There’s power one through nine, there’s speed one through nine.”

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