NCAA, Softball, Sports

Softball sweeps Bucknell in defensive clinic, extends win streak to 13

The Boston University softball team extended their win streak to 13 games after a three-game sweep against Bucknell University over the weekend. 

Graduate pitcher Lizzy Avery (27) shakes hands with senior Raegan Kelly (19) during a game against Yale University in March. The Terriers shut out Bucknell University 7-0 on Saturday.

After taking down Stonehill College 11-1 in their last game, the No. 23 nationally ranked Terriers (40-4, 12-0 Patriot League) looked to extend their home win streak to 26 straight games. It was a complete game all around from the team behind strong pitching by sophomore star pitcher Kasey Ricard. 

“I thought Kasey was really sharp. [Bucknell] weren’t making too much solid contact,” head coach Ashley Waters said. “She gave us the opportunity to warm up offensively.”

Ricard — who leads all PL pitchers in wins with 21, earned run average with a 1.23, strikeouts with 194 and opponent batting average with a .140 — was once again dealing from the start. She breezed through the first four innings, sitting down the Bison (15-25, 6-9 PL) in order. She allowed two singles the entire game, en route to a complete game shutout with 12 strikeouts and only 99 pitches.

“I was just focusing on spinning the ball and not trying to throw too hard past them,” Ricard said. “My catcher did a great job behind the plate.”

Both teams struggled to find offense in the first two innings, with BU recording just one hit. The game’s first offensive spur came in the bottom of the third, where senior outfielder Lauren Keleher and senior infielder Kayla Roncin reached base on back-to-back hits. 

Graduate infielder Caitlin Coker went up to bat next and smacked a ball to second base that was bobbled, but Keleher’s aggressive base running backfired as she was called out at home plate. The three runners were left stranded, but this was a sign for things to come for the Terriers. 

In the top of the fifth, Bucknell finally got to Ricard when junior infielder Bella Radican’s single went just past the reach of the second baseman and into right field. 

During the inning’s bottom half, the Terrier offense finally came alive. The offensive explosion started on a fielder’s choice, with freshman outfielder Kylie Doherty grounding out to second but scoring Roncin in the process. The team scored seven runs on three hits and an error, headlined by a bases-loaded walk from Keleher and two-run single from Roncin.

“I think we were just more disciplined that inning,” Waters said. “We had five walks, and anytime you’re passing the bat and more hitters are having the opportunity to see the pitchers … we have a better chance.”

Ricard continued her notable day by striking out three of the four batters she faced in the sixth, then made quick work of the Bison in the seventh to pick up her 21st win of the season. 

In game two of the series, the Terrier offense was held much more at bay, but continued to silence the Bison bats. The two teams combined for 11 hits in the first 11 and a half innings, as the game was tied at zero heading into the bottom of the twelfth. 

After two singles from Doherty and senior infielder Kate Pryor, graduate infielder Allison Boaz singled to left field, scoring the first run of the game for either team and winning the game for BU.

The Terriers looked to sweep the weekend in series in game three, but were once again held to just one run. In the bottom of the fifth, Coker singled through the right side, scoring junior outfielder Tyesha Williams. 

For the third time on the weekend, the Bison offense was shut out, and for the second time, it was by Ricard.

Ricard conceded just three hits while striking out six in another complete game effort. Ricard now sits at a dominant 21-3 record as a starter. 

While this weekend may not have been the Terriers’ most dominant at the plate, it was a commanding effort on the defensive side as they held Bucknell scoreless in all three games. 

Since March 16, Coach Waters’ squad has only lost once, and they will look to continue to dominate and extend their win streak at Rhode Island on Tuesday. To avoid complacency, BU’s star pitcher emphasized the importance of identity.

“Just staying the course and focusing on playing our game and not getting too involved as to what the other teams [have] thrown at us,” Ricard said.

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