After splitting its four games in the Louisville Black and Red Tournament last weekend, the Boston University softball team will head to Atlanta, Ga., for six games in the Georgia Tech Buzz Classic.
In their first of four games in Louisville, Ky., the Terriers (2-2) took on Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in what would be the team’s first win and first shutout of the season.
Freshman pitcher Holli Floetker made her collegiate debut striking out five batters and giving up only three hits. Floetker was rewarded for her effort by being named the America East Rookie and Pitcher of the Week.
“I’m hoping [Floetker] has a real nice year,” said BU coach Shawn Rychcik. “She’s going to hit some bumps in the course of the year being a freshman. I’m okay with that. Expectation-wise, I just hope she’s consistent, that I know what I’m going to get every time she’s out and that I know that she’s out there competing and giving me her best.”
Redshirt freshman outfielder Jayme Mask also had a solid game, getting three hits on the day and scoring the first run for BU who would come out with a 4-0 win.
Later on that afternoon, BU faced off against University of Louisville with sophomore pitcher Whitney Tuthill on the mound. Tuthill, who has the most experience of any Terrier starting pitcher, gave up four runs, three of which were earned, to the Cardinals in five innings of play.
“Louisville’s a pretty good team,” said BU coach Shawn Rychcik after the loss. “I think when we get a little more under our belt and our pitchers are pitching outside we’re going to get better.”
The next day, the Terriers offense showed its potential with a 9-1 trouncing of Wright State University. Freshman shortstop Brittany Clendenny, senior outfielder April Setterlund and freshman catcher Amy Ekart had two runs batted in a piece in the outing.
BU finished off the tournament with a comeback attempt that fell short to Miami University of Ohio. Miami took a 5-0 lead into the top of the fourth inning. BU started to climb back, scoring two runs in the fourth and one more run in the fifth. However, after starting off the sixth inning with a double, the Terriers made three straight outs to end the game.
If the Terriers want to improve their game this weekend, they are going to need to improve on defense, Rychcik said. The team had six errors in only four games last weekend.
“It’s something that has to get better,” Rychcik said. “I think they’re very aware of it. Going over the errors, it had nothing to do with playing inside, they were just discipline errors… hopefully we’ve figured some of that out. We’re not going to go through the season without errors but I’d like to see our fielding percentage go up a bit and make the routine play.”
BU is set to face six teams during the three-day Georgia Tech Buzz Classic: Kennesaw State University, Mercer University, Winthrop University, Georgia Tech University, Austin Peay State University and Georgia State University. Five of the six teams are coming into the weekend after tough losses.
Kennesaw State (10-5) ended its three-game winning streak with an 11-1 loss to Jackson State University on March 1. The Owls had six hits in the five-inning-long loss.
On Feb. 27 Mercer (11-6) fell behind by seven runs against Purdue University. Despite scoring two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings, the Bears were unable to complete the comeback and lost 7-4.
Likewise, Winthrop (3-8) dropped their home opener on Wednesday when University of South Carolina broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning. South Carolina finished up the game with four more runs to account for the final score of 6-1.
Georgia Tech’s most recent outing was against Georgia State (7-10), who will also be participating in the Classic. Georgia Tech (8-4) is the only one of the teams to have recorded a win in their last game, having shut out Georgia State 3-0 on Tuesday.
Austin Peay’s most recent game was a 4-1 loss to University of South Alabama. Austin Peay (2-11) took a 1-1 tie into the fourth inning before a South Alabama player rocked a three-run homerun to account for the final score.
For Rychcik, the key element to this weekend will be the consistency of his team’s play.
“I want to see us play six really good games,” Rychcik said, “whatever that means, if it’s six wins, five wins or four wins, that’s fine. I just want us to play some consistent games, get consistent with our bats and our hitting—all the way across the board—pitching, have it consistent and not have highs and lows. Just have overall some real nice outings.”