The Boston University softball team is riding a five-game winning streak into this weekend’s University of South Florida Under Armour Invitational in Clearwater, Fla. The Terriers (5-1) will face two teams today: a strong Villanova University (7-3) team at 11 a.m. and Western Michigan University (4-6) at 1 p.m. BU will also take on the relatively untested Robert Morris University (0-1) at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
The Terriers will need to look out for Villanova’s high-powered offense tomorrow. The Wildcats have scored at least five runs in seven of their 10 games so far this season. Senior Meghan Morese and junior Eryn Teague each have six RBIs already this season with nine and eight hits, respectively. Junior Jess O’Boyle has 11 hits and five RBIs.
Less can be said about Western Michigan, which has struggled as of late. Despite the losses, the Broncos have a few sluggers in junior Meghan Thomas and freshman Meredith Whitney, both of whom have eight RBIs. Thomas has six hits and Whitney has 11 on the season.
RMU has only played one game so far this season, missing the rest of their games due to cancellations.
Last season, BU was a team that was short on experienced college players, but long on youthful vigor and pure talent. This year, those same players are back, but with the experience they need to be a dominant force in not only the America East, but in the NCAA as well.
The Terriers’ recent success has been on the backs of its seniors. Senior pitcher Cassidi Hardy was shaky in her first game of the season against San Jose State University (4-10) on Feb. 27.
She and sophomore Kelly Engman allowed six earned runs, and BU fell to the Spartans, 6-4.
Junior Megan Currier was lights out in the next game, however, striking out four Spartans and allowing just four hits, helping her team to a 3-1 win. Senior Melissa Dubay came up big in the victory over the Spartans, driving in freshman Erica Casacci in the fifth inning.
Hardy returned to form on Feb. 28 when BU defeated the Spartans, 4-1. The senior struck out six batters and allowed one run on five hits. The Terriers played California State University-Sacramento (3-9) that same day, defeating the Hornets 7-4 in nine innings. The win was BU’s first in a three-game sweep of Sacramento that weekend.
Dubay and fellow senior Shayne Lotito racked up hit after hit in their two games Feb. 28. Dubay was 3-for-8 at the dish for the Terriers. Lotito hit .500, drove in three runs and crossed home for three of her own that day.
Both Hardy and Currier recorded wins, and Engman picked up a save against Sacramento State. The trio allowed just five runs in 16 combined innings that day.
The Terriers went on to defeat the Hornets in two games on March 1. Dubay and Lotito were the heroes again, each with two RBIs in separate games. Lotito drove in both runs in the Terriers’ second win against Sacramento, 2-0. Hardy earned the win, shutting out the Hornets in a three-hit, three-strikeout performance.
The Terriers will need the hitting power of its senior players if it wants to take the crown at this year’s tournament.
Although it had a good showing last season, BU broke even with a tournament record of 2-2. Then-junior Shayne Lotito had a game-winning two-run homer against George Mason University, and fellow then-junior Hardy threw a shutout against Indiana University.
If the Terrier veterans can produce like this again, BU should have a good weekend in Clearwater.