Their last home game brought the Terriers one big first, a refreshing performance on the mound and a defensive play to save the day. Behind Shayne Lotito’s first home run, Brittany Detwiler’s resurgence and Josey Mendez’s diving play, the Boston University softball team gave its seniors a warm sendoff in the home finale with a 4-1 win over Brown University.
“They’ve worked really hard and through the hard times they have kept their heads up,” said BU coach Shawn Rychcik. “It was a good day for us … just a good day all around.”
With their third win in four games, the Terriers raised their record to 23-24 overall, 9-7 in league play and 12-5 at home for the year. They remain in the fourth spot in the America East standings.
Coming off an outstanding 5-for-5 performance Wednesday at the University of Maine, Lotito decided to show off her power, and it couldn’t have been timelier. Going into the fifth inning with a 2-0 lead, Brooke Hudson led off with a triple to set up the hot hitting Lotito.
“The third time she went up at-bat she came up to me and said, ‘I don’t know, what do you think,'” Rychcik said. “I said just drive that run in, swing away and drive that run in.”
And drive that she did, sending a moonshot above the setting sun past the trees in right center field, giving the Terriers a four-run lead. The two-run homer was the first of Lotito’s career, and as she rounded the bases she threw both fists in the air with the biggest smile she’s ever shown on the field.
“That at-bat, I have to tell you I knew I was hitting it hard, and then as soon as it came off the bat I knew it was going over,” Lotito said. “Before here I don’t think I hit the ball out of the infield a lot, I just would dink ’em in and get to first base. I just feel more comfortable right now … I’m seeing the ball better.”
Detwiler threw her best game off the mound since her ankle injury four weeks ago to earn her first win since March 26. After walking the leadoff batter on four pitches, Detwiler found that pitcher’s groove and cruised the rest of the way with just one hiccup. With a no-hitter going into the fourth inning, Detwiler was dominant, slipping briefly in the sixth when she allowed a solo shot to Kelsey Wilson for Brown’s only run. If the team is to see continued success, Rychcik knows that it needs consistency on the rubber.
“Our whole staff, you get one like that, you get an in-between one, a bad one, a good one, it’s just been one of those years where there just hasn’t been a lot of consistency,” Rychcik said.
“Regardless of health, we are going to have to put this on the pitchers down the stretch. That’s just the way it is … we need them to perform.”
Down three runs in the top of the seventh, Brown made its push, getting its first two batters on base. Rachel Fleitell came to bat and challenged Detwiler, lining into right field for what appeared to be a run-scoring single until senior Josey Mendez dove forward and caught the ball, preventing any and all damage.
“Josey made a huge play in right,” Rychcik said. “That was huge.”
The first two runs came customarily early for BU. Filling in for senior Liz Alley, who was out with a shoulder injury, Megan Coughlin singled in the third inning. After Molly Gallagher was hit by a pitch, Tyler Benson and Christy Leath drove in back-to-back RBI singles to give the Terriers a 2-0 lead.
Alley missed the first inning of the game but returned in the second, and while she didn’t play, her supportive voice sounded throughout the field as it has all season long.
“I asked her how does [the shoulder] feel and she said, ‘Thank god for skin right now,'” Rychcik said.
Rychcik knows how important it is for the Terriers to look to each other as the regular season comes to a close, and rise above the myriad of injuries they have suffered. With a little more than a week left to go, the Terriers have a chance to gain momentum and make some noise heading into the America East Tournament.
“I think they realize it’s there, it’s not like ‘Well, we just aren’t very good right now,'” Rychcik said. “I think they believe they can still do it.”
The Terriers have six games remaining before the second season begins. They will play a three-game series with the University at Albany this weekend and three more at Stony Brook University the following weekend. The coach is optimistic that the team that has seen so many ups and downs this season will take the momentum it earned yesterday afternoon and peak as a team.
“I hope they realize that they are gonna need each other and every part of their game to come together in the next three, four, five weeks,” Rychcik said. “I hope we are up to the challenge, we are going to need each other. It’s gonna need to be a full team effort in order to do what it takes to win.”