The series between the Boston University softball team and the University at Albany will remain even for now – the teams split a pair of games on Saturday – after Sunday’s rubber match between the two clubs was canceled due to a heavy downpour. The Terriers took the first game in a pitching battle, 3-1 in nine innings, but lost the second, 10-7, succumbing to a flurry of hits by the Great Danes.
‘This isn’t the first game we’ve had against Albany,’ said coach Shawn Rychcik. ‘I’ve been here five years, and I don’t remember an Albany series that really didn’t matter or didn’t have a lot of emotion or energy behind it. Very rarely do we play them and not have it be an absolute battle.’
BU’s (20-8, 1-1 America East) senior class stepped up to pull out their first conference victory this season. Senior left fielder Shayne Lotito had one run and two hits in the Terriers’ first game of the day, part of her current 10-game hitting streak. Lotito went 4-for-8 combined in the weekend series. Senior designated hitter Nora Militz drove in three runs on two hits Sunday after going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts on Saturday and deposited one over the wall to add to the Terriers’ five home run day (though they came in a losing effort).
‘That’s what seniors are supposed to do,’ Rychcik said. ‘They’re supposed to lead through the big games, will probably get some plays from our other seniors that makes a difference down the road.’
Senior Cassidi Hardy outlasted Albany’s (14-8, AE 1-1) senior Leah McIntosh in an epic pitching duel that saw 100 pitches from each hurler through nine innings. The two were neck-and-neck for most of the game before sophomore April Setterlund hit a walk-off home run that scored Lotito to earn dramatic win. Hardy allowed one run on five hits and struck out seven in nine innings to earn her ninth win of the season. Neither pitcher gave up a walk.’
In any other game, McIntosh’s 18 strikeouts and three allowed runs on five hits probably would have won her team the game. However, the Terriers’ offense came through to give the senior her first loss of the season.
‘It was exactly what I expected it to be,’ Rychcik said of the pitching battle. ‘It was what we prepared for. We knew there was going to be some strikeouts, so we just tried to hang in there and be tough. We’d have an opportunity somewhere to win that game.’
Junior first baseman Rachel Herbert started the Terriers’ day off with a home run to left field, her first of the season, giving BU a 1-0 lead. Albany tied the score with an unearned run two innings later.
The top of the sixth was a real test for Hardy. Finding herself with the bases loaded and two outs, Hardy struck out the final batter to escape the inning.
There was no more scoring until the final frame, when Setterlund mashed her game-winner, part of a two-RBI, two-hit performance on the afternoon. The sophomore is on a hot streak, as she drove in five runs against the University of Rhode Island (7-16, 1-1 Atlantic 10) last Thursday.
‘She’s had some big hits for us,’ Rychcik said. ‘She put good contact on the ball and hit it out of the park. She struck out a few times early. That told the whole team that we were probably going to have some strikeouts, but we had to be ready to respond to an opportunity later in the game and not let the early at-bats get us down.’
Despite a rally led by senior catcher Christy Leath in the bottom of the fourth, the Terriers failed to come back against the Great Danes in the second game on Saturday.
Leath’s double to center field started a scoring run by the Terriers. Militz had two RBI on one hit that cut the deficit to four but the Great Danes kept the pressure on in the sixth with a three-run homer by sophomore Gina Mason. The Terriers could not keep up and fell to Albany – giving them their first conference loss of the season a few hours after battling for their first win.