Fresh off its three-game sweep of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County over the weekend, the Boston University softball team takes on the University of Maine in two more America East matchups on Wednesday.
A third no-hitter from redshirt junior Cassidi Hardy this season and gutty performances in the batting box ensured success for the Terriers (23-10, 4-1 America East) in their series against the Retrievers (22-14, 2-4 AE) on April 4 and 5.
The Terriers’ defense is also arguably the best in the America East. BU is currently first in double plays (20) and tied for first in fielding percentage (.963). This is due in part to Hardy’s dominating performances.
‘Her no-hitters have given us a lot of easy outs,’ BU coach Shawn Rychcik said. ‘We still need to make plays. The double plays help. It gives the pitchers confidence that if they make mistakes, the defense can get them out of it.’
Hardy made a statement on April 4, becoming only the second pitcher in Terrier softball history to throw more than two no-hitters in a single season. Audrey West threw four perfect games in 1994 and earned the America East Pitcher of the Year award for her efforts. Hardy threw seven strikeouts in the Terriers’ 4-0 win against UMBC.
The second and third games of the series could not have been more different than the first. Freshman Emily Roesch provided the heroics in the third, hitting a walk-off home run to lift the Terriers to a 5-4 win. The freshman had a striking weekend with two home runs and four hits through the three games. Sophomore April Setterlund was just as productive with a home run, a double and two RBIs.’ ‘
Back-to-back heartbreakers and a series of rain cancelations frustrated the Terriers in the run up to their successful stint against the Retrievers. Starting with their 10-7 nine-inning loss to the University of Albany (19-9, 2-2 AE) on March 28, the Terriers saw three losses and two cancelations over one wearisome week. Two of those losses were in extra innings and all were by two runs or less.
The Terriers’ first rain cancellation of the week ended any chance of a rematch against Albany on March 29.’
The second of their losses came against Providence College (25-25-2, 8-12 Big East) on April 1. The score was tied for most of the game until the Friars’ Gina Rossi smacked one deep for a two-run homer in the sixth inning, securing a 6-4 victory.
After their chance for revenge against the Friars later that day was canceled due to rain, the Terriers dropped another game on April 2 against the University of Connecticut (20-11, 5-5 BE). Despite a solid, eight-inning performance, the Terriers were again tied with their opponent until UConn’s Justine Roy singled up the middle, plating the go-ahead run for a final score of 2-1.’
In contrast to that disastrous week of games, the Terriers’ recent play is more evocative of what the team has accomplished in its season up to this point. It has been Hardy’s best season on record. Not only does she have her no-hitters, but she is pitching with a 1.31 ERA and has 95 strikeouts. Hardy, junior Megan Currier and sophomore Kelley Engman combine to make up one of the best pitching staffs in the America East with a 2.08 ERA.’ ‘ ‘
While they might not have grabbed as many headlines, Setterlund and senior Shayne Lotito are having productive years of their own. Setterlund is second in the conference with a .404 average to go along with 22 RBIs. Lotito is fifth in the conference with a .381 average and is perfect in stolen bases. She is 22-for-22 and leads the America East in that category.
Despite a 10-game winning streak that tore through the first half of March, Maine (22-17, 2-4 AE) has struggled of late. The Black Bears broke a four-game losing streak on April 5, handing Stony Brook University (22-5, 5-1 AE) its first conference loss in the final match of a three-game series.
The 2-0 shutout was courtesy of senior pitcher Jenna Balent, who allowed just two hits and had five strikeouts in a complete-game performance.