Senior Day is meant to be a day of celebration for those players who have put their heart and soul into the game of softball for four years and find themselves playing in the last home day game of their long and winding careers. On Sunday, Stony Brook University did all they could to ruin the Boston University softball team’s Senior Day by soundly defeating BU, 6-1, but the Terriers didn’t help their own cause.
In fact, the Seawolves took every strength the Terriers had going into Sunday’s contest, the third of the weekend’s three-game series and the only time the two teams will meet during the regular season, and quickly made it into a weakness.
Take, for example, the performance of redshirt junior and Terrier ace Cassidi Hardy.
Hardy was coming off a game Saturday in which she pitched all 12 innings of a thrilling, 6-5 BU victory over Stony Brook. Over those 12 innings, Hardy allowed three earned runs to go with eight strikeouts and only one walk, despite laboring through 157 pitches.
Flash forward to Sunday’s contest, and the story changed completely. In the first inning alone, the Jupiter, Fla., native walked four straight batters with one out in the inning to put two quick runs on the board for the Seawolves. Hardy went on to walk four more SBU batters and allow four more earned runs on the afternoon before being relieved for the seventh.
Those statistics are far from the 1.53 ERA and 1.94 walks-per-seven-innings to which BU coach Shawn Rychcik and his staff have grown accustomed. However, when asked how much of an influence he thought Hardy’s taxing pitch count on Saturday had on her poor performance the next day, Rychcik replied quickly and flatly.
‘Absolutely none,’ Rychcik said. ‘She just wasn’t ready to go. Cassidi walked four in the first inning, and that kind of put her behind really early.’
Not that the Terriers’ offense did their fair share, either. Stony Brook pitcher Casey Jacobs was able to take a team that averages 4.2 runs per game and is statistically the third-best hitting team in the recently ultra-competitive America East Conference this season, and turn that offense on its head.
The Terriers were only able to muster two hits on the afternoon, by senior shortstop Melissa Dubay and senior catcher Christy Leath, both coming at opposite ends of the scorecard (Dubay in the first, Leath in the seventh).
In fact, it took 6.2 innings for the Terriers to finally break the goose egg on the scoreboard. Even then, however, the matter was out of Jacobs’ hands as an error by Stony Brook shortstop Vicki Kavitsky allowed Dubay to score with one out to go in the game.
To make matters even worse, senior leadoff hitter and resident speedster Shayne Lotito, who was 28-of-29 on the basepaths heading into the game, made BU’s first out after being caught trying to steal second in the first inning.
Things that had once seemed as certain as death and taxes for the Terriers ‘-‘- stellar pitching by Hardy, a solid offense and excellent base stealing by Lotito ‘-‘- were all stripped away by Stony Brook very early.’
‘Unfortunately, we played our worst game of the year,’ Rychcik said. ‘But as I told the team, it’s better today than three of four weeks from now in the conference tournament. We’re an experienced team, a lot of seniors and veterans, and we understand things. We didn’t play very well. It’s disappointing to all of us, but we know that there’s a lot more season left to be played.’
Luckily, Sunday’s contest was not the last game at BU Softball Field for the seniors ‘-‘- they have three games left against the University of Maine, Harvard University and Boston College. Although the fanfare of Senior Day will not be present at these remaining home contests, BU can only hope that the performance of this year’s Senior Day will also be absent.