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Softball set to close book on regular season

With the regular season coming to a close, the Boston University softball team is gearing up for its last few games as it prepares for a Wednesday matchup against the University of Massachusetts – Amherst followed by its final regular-season series: a weekend Patriot League matchup against Bucknell University.

A weekend sweep of Patriot League rival Lafayette College and a win on Monday against the University of Massachusetts–Lowell brought the Terriers’ (30-18, 11-4 Patriot League) six-game homestand to a close as they took all six games and extended their win streak to 11 games. With the momentum gained on their home turf, the Terriers hope to bring down a Minutewomen (14-19) team that is undefeated at home this year.

In their last six games, the Terriers were firing on all cylinders both offensively and on the mound. During the homestand, they outscored their opponents 28-11, including four games where their opponents plated only one run. Over the course of the win streak, they have been obliterating opponents, outscoring teams by a total of 50 runs.

BU coach Kathryn Gleason said she is happy with the way her team has been playing.

“I think we’ve finally put all three facets of the game together,” Gleason said. “It’s been tough during the midweek games, but … our pitching staff has been doing a great job. … It’s been somebody different every day. One day it’s [freshman third baseman] Brittany Younan, the other it’s [senior catcher] Amy [Ekart]. … We just never know who it’s going to be.”

Leading the charge for the team over the last week have been senior shortstop Brittany Clendenny and sophomore pitcher Melanie Russell, who recently received the latest Patriot League Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week awards. Clendenny has been on a tear since the beginning of last week, hitting three long balls and driving in nine runs, including five against Lafayette (10-32, 4-14 Patriot League) in a shortened contest, all while batting .476. She currently leads the Patriot League in RBI with 46.

“They’ve meant a tremendous amount to us,” Gleason said. “[Brittany] just gets it done. Just put the ball in play and good things will happen, and she’s been getting those RBI.”

Russell’s work on the mound has been nothing short of impressive as well, claiming two wins in as many starts and allowing eight hits in 14 innings of work. Her latest showing brought her ERA down to 2.21, third in the Patriot League.

Gleason has also been impressed with Russell’s return as she continues to recuperate from injury.

“Ever since coming back from her injury, I don’t think [Melanie] is 100 percent,” Gleason said. “But just getting her innings and getting her rhythm has been a good thing. … She’s been huge for us.”

The Minutewomen seem to relish the opportunity to play at home. While sporting an underwhelming 3-9 road record, UMass has remained undefeated in eight games at home this season and have been lead by one of their seniors, Lindsey Webster. Webster is leading the team in RBI, home runs and total bases. With Webster serving as an offensive catalyst, and junior Quianna Diaz-Patterson and freshman Jena Cozza each batting over .350 on the year, the imposing Terrier rotation could be in for a tight match.

Following the away game, the Terriers will host their final series of the season this weekend against a Bucknell (20-22, 9-6 Patriot League) team that is right on the Terriers’ heels in the Patriot League standings.

The Bison are just coming off another Patriot League series in which they took two of three from Colgate University, outscoring the Raiders 25-10. This Bison team also features the Patriot League’s leading hitter, as junior Cydnee Sanders has been putting on a hitting clinic all season long with a .483 average off of 69 hits.

This late in the season, fatigue begins to set in for many players, and Gleason said she has been giving her players extra rest to help stave it off.

“Fatigue definitely comes into play at certain points,” Gleason said. “We’ve been trying to combat it by giving it as much rest as we can. … especially this last week of school going into finals … I think they’ll be ready to go once we start the tournament next week.”

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