The Boston University softball team’s eight-game winning streak came to an end on Wednesday night as they lost 3-0 to the No. 25 University of Massachusetts.
The Terriers (18-11, 3-0 America East) were shut out for the first time all year, and managed just two hits against UMass senior pitcher Sara Plourde. Plourde leads the nation in strikeouts, with 302 in 26 appearances, and retired twenty Boston College batters on Tuesday in a one-hit performance.
Senior pitcher Cassidi Hardy took the loss for the Terriers, throwing four innings before being relieved by freshman Whitney Tuthill, which drops her record to 11-4. Hardy held the Minutewomen off the scoreboard for two innings before giving up three earned runs on four hits in the third.
“[Hardy] was pretty good,” said BU coach Shawn Rychcik. “I don’t think she had quite as good a game as on Sunday, but these are very good hitters, hitting near .300 [as a team] as well. We’re never going up there to throw a two-hitter and beat them.”
Freshman outfielder Taylor Cowan knocked a double into left field for BU’s first hit in the second, but was stranded on base when junior shortstop Emily Roesch struck out swinging. Cowan was the only Terrier to reach base until the seventh inning.
BU was able to get two outs on the Minutewomen (23-7, 6-0 Atlantic 10) in the top of the third, but couldn’t quite close the deal. UMass senior shortstop Whitney Williams hit a single to center field, and sophomore second baseman Kyllie Magill followed her with a two-run home run to put the Minutewomen on top. Sophomore outfielder Katie Bettencourt then scored on a double by senior infielder Sarah Reeves before Hardy was able to retire the side.
Junior center fielder April Setterlund hit a single up the right side in the top of the seventh, keeping her personal hitting streak &- 12 consecutive games &- alive. The hit didn’t do BU much good, though, as junior catcher Caitlin Rentler and senior third baseman Rachel Moeller followed her with a pair of strikeouts to end the game.
“We had a bad break in the third,” Rychcik said. “We had two outs and nobody on and they got a base hit off of a really good pitch, and an insurance run after that. But I thought we played okay.”
The Minutewomen are now on an eight-game winning streak. They have not lost since concluding tournament play against Long Beach State University on March 21. But Rychcik said the loss shouldn’t derail the momentum the Terriers have been building over the last few weeks.
“I think we’re probably better for it,” Rychcik said. “We may have lost our eight-game win streak, but we’re better for the pitching we saw. This weekend [at Albany] I don’t think we’ll see anything like that, so we’ll be prepared.”
The Terriers have not beaten UMass once during Rychcik’s six years as coach. They will have another shot at the Minutewomen on April 13, and could have a chance to pull out a victory if they can match Plourde’s first-rate pitching with their own formidable bats.
“She’s leading the country in strikeouts, and she was able to slow our bats down,” Rychcik said. “But we made some good defensive plays, and it was a good effort. We’ve got to hit a little better, and hopefully we have a better shot when we face them again in a couple weeks.”
BU will next host the University of Connecticut at 4:00 on Thursday afternoon, looking to head into their weekend series against the University at Albany on a positive note.