Softball, Sports

Softball returns to Boston to face BC

After playing 23 games ‘-‘- exactly half of the team’s schedule ‘-‘- on the road thus far in distant lands like San Jose, Calif. and Clearwater, Fla., the Boston University softball team finally returns to the Hub this week when it squares off today against cross-town rival Boston College at Chestnut Hill and tomorrow against the University of Rhode Island at the BU Softball Field. Although some may prefer the better weather of the Gulf and Pacific Coasts, the home diamond will be a welcome sight to the Terriers (16-7) this week. Last season, the team went 15-3 on Ashford Street, as opposed to 14-20 away from BU, including neutral-site locations. The change from a tournament schedule, which constitutes not only long-distance travel but also a grueling game schedule (such as BU’s 13 games in 10 days in Florida) to a regular-season schedule can only work in the Terriers’ favor, according to coach Shawn Rychcik. ‘When we’re in a situation where the game schedule might be a little shorter and we’re a little fresher, I think we can be really good,’ Rychcik said. ‘I look back when we first got [to Clearwater], the first five games we didn’t give up an earned run, and that’s when we were fresh.’ The Terriers will need to be at their freshest today if they are to avenge last season’s 7-0 loss to BC. In that matchup, the Terrier offense gathered eight hits on the afternoon but were never able to capitalize as BC sophomore returnee Allison Gage pitched a shutout at BU Softball Field. Junior Megan Currier was knocked for three earned runs in 4.1 innings and received the loss. Sophomore Kelley Engman gave up four in her 2.2 innings of work. This season, the Eagles stand at 9-13 entering today’s contest on the Hill. However, Rychcik knows that any record should be tossed out the window come gametime. ‘BC’s always been good. They play in the ACC, obviously,’ Rychcik said. ‘Early in the season, it’s tough to read into their record because a team could play a really strong schedule and have a .500 record, and you could play teams with a really strong record, but they haven’t played anyone and may be the lesser of the two teams. Traditionally though, we’ve been back and forth with BC, so it’ll be tough.’ On paper, the Eagles have indeed played a fairly tough schedule, punctuated by a 7-1 loss to the No. 10 University of Tennessee. BC is led at the plate by junior catcher Amy Tunstall, who leads the team in both batting average (.328) and RBIs (14). Junior pitcher Taylor Peyton has made 13 of the team’s 22 starts this season, going 6-7 with a 2.15 ERA and seven complete games. The Terriers can expect a slightly easier matchup at home tomorrow against URI. BU downed the Rams, 2-0, last year. Engman allowed only two hits in that contest and went the distance for the shutout. The Rams enter Thursday on the lowest of notes. They ride into Boston on an eight-game stretch in which they have gone 1-7. For the season, their record is a paltry 6-13. BU and URI have shared one common opponent this season: Columbia University. On Saturday, BU swept a doubleheader with Columbia in the Big Apple by scores of 2-0 and 11-7. URI, on the other hand, fell to the Ivy League program, 7-3, in Kissimmee, Fla. only three days earlier. Senior Odalys Torres has received most of the starts for the Rams, but has struggled on the hill, going 0-5 with a 5.20 ERA. Power at the plate will have to come from junior first baseman Leah DiBussolo, who leads the team in total bases (17) and is tied for second in RBIs (5)

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