The Boston University softball team opens its season this weekend in the San Jose State Tournament against San Jose State University and Sacramento State University. The Terriers, ranked second in the America East preseason coaches poll, will play a three-game series against each team over the course of three doubleheaders between today and Sunday.The Terriers have a few scouting reports on their West Coast adversaries, but distance has prevented much familiarity.’We know they’re both in California,’ BU coach Shawn Rychcik said. ‘Other than that, we are still waiting for stats from the games they played [Wednesday].’The Terriers last played San Jose State in the 2004 New Mexico State Tournament, winning 7-0. The Spartans are 3-7 on the season with wins over Idaho State University, Utah Valley University and Northern Colorado University.Sacramento State has not fared much better. Six games in, the Hornets’ record stands at 2-4. But despite their lackluster record, last week’s National Pro Fastpitch League Draft is evidence that the team is a formidable threat.
Senior catcher Jamie Schloredt was taken in the third round (14th overall) by the Chicago Bandits. Left fielder Izmena Cabrera was taken in the fifth round (25th overall), also by Chicago.As Bandits, they join multiple former college All-Americans, including superstar Olympian Jennie Finch.But Rychcik has a closer eye on how his own roster will shake out. With sophomore second baseman Melanie Delgado on the disabled list, freshman Erica Casacci will get the chance to make her first start.Rychcik said Casacci showed she could handle regular playing time during the fall season.’I’m interested to see what she does with the opportunity,’ Rychcik said. ‘If she plays well, we can find a place for her even when Melanie comes back.’This case summarizes the team mentality regarding playing time. Everyone has a chance to prove they can play regularly.’Players know, ‘If I come out and perform, I can have right field,” Rychcik said, alluding to another position that’s up in the air.In terms of pitching, all three pitchers in the rotation have proven that they can pull the load at any particular time. The rotation has not yet been set for the series.’To say who is number one isn’t fair,’ Rychcik said. ‘All three have been number one at one point in time. We have a senior, a junior and a sophomore, and each has been the ace at different points in time.’Sophomore Kelly Engman made the America East all-rookie team last year after going 6-6 with a 4.42 ERA. Junior Megan Currier went 9-9 with a 4.97 ERA, and senior Cassidi Hardy won 14 games with a 3.14 ERA on the way to second-team All-America East recognition.Rychcik also indicated that the team will lean on the hot pitcher during the upcoming series. If one is faring better, she may pick up more innings. This trend will continue to play itself out in the weeks ahead.One thing is certain: BU is the odd team out in this trio. San Jose State and Sacramento State have a long-standing rivalry. And the two teams will surely focus on beating each other first, based on familiarity and tradition. It will be interesting to see if BU can interrupt this phenomenon and start the season out the right way.