The Boston University softball team tried to escape the winter-like conditions of Boston in hopes of getting healthy. But unfortunately for the Terriers, injuries followed them down South and disrupted BU coach Amy Hayes’ plans.
While the Terriers (9-16) only finished 5-7 on the trip, Hayes admitted that the team was fortunate to get out of there with five wins.
“We played tough competition,” Hayes said. “We dropped a few close games, but with a team as banged up as we are, we were happy to get out of there with that record.”
The Terriers’ first stop on the 12-game trip was Clearwater, Fla. for the Speedline Invitational. On March 4, BU knocked off the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga 5-2. Ashlee Freeman (6-9) pitched a complete game, holding the Mocs to five hits and one earned run.
But in the nightcap, the Terriers were shut out 4-0 by the University of Iowa and star pitcher Lisa Birocci, who held the Terriers to two hits while fanning 16.
The troubles continued on Friday, as BU fell to Troy State University and Baylor University.
The Terriers had three cross the plate in the first inning against Troy State and added another in the fourth, but Freeman could not preserve the lead, as the Lady Trojans scored four runs in the fourth to tie the game. In the bottom of the seventh, a Bonnie Belin two-run home run won it, 6-4.
“It’s deflating when you see four runs slip away like that,” Hayes said. “But they were better at the end – they had better at-bats and got the hits when they needed them.”
The Terriers also lost freshman second baseman Brandi Shields, who broke her leg sliding into second base.
BU’s offense proved inconsistent once again against Baylor, as southpaw Cristin Vitek no-hit the Terriers while striking out 10. The Terriers had only one baserunner, on a Liz Alley walk.
Injuries have become an epidemic, and Abbey Pauley was the victim against Baylor, hurting her back trying to climb the wall in left field for a catch.
BU’s DeKenya Williams (1-4) gave up three earned runs in three innings of work. The Terrier defense was shaky, as two errors eventually led to three runs.
“Any error is unpleasant,” Hayes said. “We have a whole load of freshmen and a lot of walk-ons, and because of injuries, everyone has been moved around.”
Saturday, the Terriers got back to their winning ways by defeating Northern Illinois University 4-2, as Brittany Detwiler and Freeman combined to three-hit the Huskies.
Freshman Chiya Louie drove in another run on a fielder’s choice and added a second RBI in the third, followed by an Alley RBI double.
“[Louie] stepped up big-time,” Hayes said. “We really need that. She is excellent at prime-time at-bats and only needs to work on cutting down on strikeouts.”
The Terriers played for fourth place Sunday, but were shut out once again, this time by the University of Nevada-Las Vegas 3-0. Freeman pitched a gem, giving up four hits and one earned run over six innings, but her defense and offense failed her once again, making three errors.
The Terriers tried to forget about their fifth place finish as they moved over to Tampa, Fla. to compete in the University of South Florida’s adidas Spring Break Tournament.
BU fell in the first game on March 7 against Temple University, 2-0. Freeman did not allow an earned run over six innings, but four Terrier miscues cost BU the game. Both runs came in the fifth, as Laura Gutscher drove home both unearned runs on a groundout.
“[Freeman] was great this week,” Hayes said. “For someone who is banged up, she pitched really well.”
In the nightcap, the Terriers pounced on a familiar America East foe, the University of Maine, scoring seven runs in the first three innings to cruise to an 8-3 win. The big blow again came from Louie, who crushed a two-run homer to left in the first.
The Terriers won two games in a row for the second time this season when they defeated Northern Illinois again, 5-1. Freeman did not allow an earned run in seven innings of work, only giving up four hits and striking out five.
After a great pitching performance against Maine, Detwiler struggled against No. 20 University of South Florida, giving up six earned runs in just three innings of work on the way to an 11-3 loss.
“That [arm fracture] is hurting her,” Hayes said. “Her walk average is up – she doesn’t have as much control.”
The Terriers finished their Sunshine State tour in the Plant City Tournament on Friday March 12. BU defeated University of St. Francis 3-1, but was then shut out again by Temple, 3-0.
With all the injuries it has endured, the Terrier lineup is still up in the air. Alley is questionable for Thursday’s matchup at the University of Rhode Island, while Detwiler and Freeman will continue to pitch through their nagging injuries.
“I have never seen anything like this,” Hayes said. “I really hope that the Curse of the Bambino hasn’t switched from the Red Sox to us.”