Softball takes on Bucknell in final regular-season series

The Boston University softball team will head into this weekend looking to extend its 11-game win streak as well as keeping its momentum going into the Patriot League playoffs.

After having their game against the University of Massachusetts-Amherst cancelled on Wednesday due to inclement weather, the Terriers (30-18, 11-4 Patriot League) only have the weekend series against Bucknell University remaining.

“Our offense really held us at the beginning of the season when our defense wasn’t so great,” said BU coach Kathryn Gleason.  “Then [sophomore pitcher] Lauren [Hynes] pitched for that stretch and now everything’s coming together.”

BU sits second in the Patriot League standings, one game behind leader Lehigh University in conference play and two games up on the Bison (20-22, 9-6 Patriot League). All three teams have all secured playoff spots.

The Terriers will be fighting for the number-one seed in the Patriot League tournament during this weekend series.

“We’re just focused on this series against Bucknell,” Gleason said.  “And if we can win and get the one seed, then we’ll be happy. If not, we’ll go on the road and do what we have to do.”

During their winning streak, the Terriers have gotten stellar performances up and down the lineup and also from the pitching staff, whom have all stepped up their play.

This past week, senior shortstop Brittany Clendenny was named Patriot League Player of the Week after finishing the week with four home runs while also getting 10 hits in her 21 at-bats.

“She’s been huge for our team,” Gleason said.  “But she wouldn’t have those opportunities if [senior outfielder] Jayme [Mask], [freshman outfielder] Moriah [Connolly] and [freshman third baseman] Brittany Younan weren’t getting on and Brittany’s been swinging a hot bat all year.”

Sophomore pitcher Melanie Russell was also presented with a Patriot League conference award this week as she was named Pitcher of the Week for her recent stellar performances.

Even though the team has been on a roll, Gleason still thinks that there is room to improve on the defensive side of the game.

“We can always be better on defense,” Gleason said. “We played great defense on Monday and great defense against Lafayette but we’ve had a couple of innings where we let base runners get on and that’s a key thing.”

Bucknell comes into the series as winners of five out of their last seven, including a series win over fellow Patriot League team Colgate University last weekend.

“They’re a very solid team who have played everybody tough,” Gleason said.  “They’re a team much like us who battles, they’re never out of a game, they battle for late inning runs as well.”

Both the Bison and the Terriers sport the only two players in the league who are hitting .400 or better on the season.

BU has Mask (.400) while the Bison have sophomore Cydnee Sanders, who leads the league in hits with 69 and a phenomenal batting average of .483.  She also leads the league in runs scored with 40, one more than Mask has.

In the power department, the Bison are lead by junior Kristen Zahn, who has six home runs on the year, and freshman Jacee Almond who has five. The two players currently rank fourth and fifth in the league, respectively, in home runs..

Even though the Bison are poised to make a run at this BU team, Gleason believes that her team will be equipped to handle whatever challenges come their way.

“Everything’s running on the same cylinder now and propelling us forward,” Gleason said.  “We’ve been talking all year about playing as a team and winning as a team and now they’ve been doing that and its been somebody else each and every game.”

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