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Russell’s perfect game highlights Terriers’ doubleheader sweep

The Boston University softball team continued its dominance during the final stretch of the 2014 regular season by sweeping Bucknell University in a doubleheader set Saturday afternoon at the BU Softball Field.

With the two victories, the Terriers (32-18, 13-4 Patriot League) extended their win streak to 13 games.

Sophomore pitcher Melanie Russell was the clear-cut star of the first game, as the reigning Patriot League Pitcher of the Week became just the fifth player in program history to toss a perfect game.

Russell threw 77 pitches and struck out four Bucknell (20-24, 9-8 Patriot League) batters en route to her milestone accomplishment.

“I think she took the mound and had a great presence about her,” said BU coach Kathryn Gleason. “We don’t ask them to strike anyone out, we ask them to get ground balls and fly balls and she did a great job with that today.”

While Russell carved through the Bison lineup, BU’s bats also struggled getting anything going against Bucknell pitcher Amanda Fazio, as the Terriers were only able to muster two hits over the first five innings.

In the sixth inning, senior right fielder Jayme Mask led off with a bunt single. With one out, Mask stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. In the next at-bat, senior shortstop Brittany Clendenny drove in Mask with a double out to left field.

The one-run lead was all that Russell needed, as she easily set down the final three Bucknell batters to earn the perfect game and the 1-0 victory.

“I don’t think anyone talked about it, said anything or even knew. So, it did happen. To have the eighth one in school history is a big deal. And Mel has had a rough year,” Gleason said.

She started out great in South Carolina, pitched very well. We were very excited about the season ahead of her. But then got the injury, so she’s been fighting back to get back there. Is she 100 percent yet? I’m not quite sure she is 100 percent yet. But she’s battled back all season and to have this is a great testament to her and determination to get back on the mound.”

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Terriers once again received a big boost from their hurlers, as freshman pitcher Makinna Akers held the Bison to just three hits over seven shutout innings.

Freshman third baseman Brittany Younan led the way for the Terrier offense, as the Chico, Calif. native finished the game with three RBIs. Freshman center fielder Moriah Connolly and freshman designated hitter Gabi Martinez were also impressive at the plate, as both players tallied two hits and two runs scored apiece as the Terriers completed the doubleheader sweep with a 6-0 victory.

BU will wrap up its regular season Sunday when they take once again take on the Bison at the BU Softball Field. Prior to first pitch, the Terriers will honor their four seniors – Clendenny, catcher Amy Ekart, first baseman Chelsea Kehr and Mask.

While the Terriers have saved their best play for the final spell of the season, Gleason said that the team will take it one game at a time when the Patriot League Tournament starts up in the near future.

“Well, momentum is pretty hard to get and when you get it you got to hold on to it. And we’ve had that in games, and I think we’ll take that into tomorrow, which is our focus,” Gleason said. “We’ll take a day or two off for finals and then prepare and try and take that momentum into the Patriot League Tournament, wherever it is. We’ll be here or someplace else, and we’ll be ready to go.”

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