With the America East standings so close, the Boston University softball team needed a win this week, and a win is exactly what it got against the University of Maine yesterday in a 4-2 decision. The victory leaves the Terriers in third place in the conference.
Prior to yesterday’s game, there were five teams vying for the top spot in the conference, all separated by just three games. The Terriers (31-15, 9-5 AE) are two games back from the conference’s outright leader, Stony Brook University (30-9, 11-3). Maine (28-20, 8-7) falls to sixth place with the loss.
The importance of the Terriers’ final games toward determining their America East championship hopes has not been lost on BU coach Shawn Rychcik. Five of the Terriers’ last six games are against conference teams.
‘For the past few games, we could have ended up being anywhere from fourth to sixth,’ Rychcik said. ‘That’s how tight this conference is right now. Fortunately for us, we’re sitting pretty solid in third place right now.
‘Our main goal in all of this is to just take care of ourselves. Nothing we can try to do can affect Stony Brook. There’s nothing we can do to affect Maine or any other team.’
BU’s win yesterday re-affirmed the Terriers’ talent at bat and on the pitcher’s mound, reversing the team’s troubles after a disappointing weekend against SBU, capped off by a 6-1 loss against the Seawolves on Sunday.
Junior Cassidi Hardy did not let Sunday’s loss get to her, and she rebounded well yesterday. Hardy struck out four batters, walked two and allowed five hits and two runs in her 19th complete game of the season.
‘I knew she would throw well today,’ Rychcik said. ‘She’s had a good year. It’s not like she’s been all over the place. She’s thrown a lot of good games for us.”
Senior Nora Militz provided a lot of the Terriers’ rhythm at bat with two hits, including a solo home run. Classmate Shayne Lotito kept up her spectacular play on base this season with two more stolen bases to add to her ever-growing, record-setting numbers in that category. Lotito also had two hits and a run yesterday.
Despite recently returning from the injured list, sophomore April Setterlund continued to show why she is the Terriers’ top hitter. Setterlund went 1-for-3 at the plate with an RBI that kept her team in the game.
The Terriers’ win also snapped Maine senior Jenna Balent’s five-game shutout streak. BU was one of the teams Balent rolled over in her hot streak. Rychcik attributed his team’s stand against the star pitcher to the time it took to prepare for yesterday’s game.
‘What we were able to do on Tuesday and into Wednesday’s rainout was go over what she got us with last time, which was her changeup,’ Rychcik said. ‘Today, we did a better job with pacing some of the pitches.’
Despite the preparation, BU looked a little sloppy in the first inning. A fielding error allowed Maine junior Alexis Souhlaris to cross home plate, giving her team an early one-run lead. Attempting a response, the Terriers loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning but could not come up with a score.
The fourth inning saw a return to BU’s usual form. First up in the inning, Militz belted her home run to tie the game. Lotito followed by making it to third base on a bunt and two stolen bases. Setterlund stepped up to bat next and drove in Lotito to make it 2-1.
The Black Bears rebounded in the fifth, scoring a run on a passed ball. But it was the Terries turn to take advantage in the sixth, scoring two runs on a fielding error at second base to finalize the score.