On Monday, the Boston University softball team returned from Florida ending a stretch that saw it go 9-4 in 13 games over the course of just 10 days during spring break, the team’s busiest week and a half of the season.
The Terriers (12-7) got off to an average start in the University of South Florida Under Armour Showcase, splitting a doubleheader with an 8-6 loss to Long Island University and an 8-6 win over LaSalle University. BU then swept a doubleheader with 2-1 and 2-0 wins over Central Connecticut State University and Robert Morris University, respectively, before wrapping up the weekend and the tournament with a 2-1 loss to Central Michigan University.
The team also got some work in during the week with a doubleheader against Colorado State University on March 15, when senior outfielder April Setterlund stole the show. BU won both games, 11-7 and 9-0, thanks in large part to Setterlund, who went 3-5 at the plate with two grand slams and a three-run homer for a total of 11 RBIs.
According to BU coach Shawn Rychcik, this was a product of not only Setterlund’s ability to get hits in the clutch, but also the success of the hitters in front of her.
“Somebody’s got to get on in front of [Setterlund] so it makes it tough [on opposing pitchers],” Rychcik said. “People are trying to work around her quite a bit, and you can’t do that with the bases loaded. She’s getting pitches to hit, and she’s a really good hitter. She always has the potential to hit the ball out of the park, drive in a big run, and it’s nice that now we’re starting to get behind her a little bit and give her some help.”
As if the offense was not enough, the team was also backed by the strong pitching performances of sophomore Erin Schuppert and freshman Holli Floetker, who each went five shutout innings while striking out seven and giving up only three hits.
Rychcik said the pitching staff, which allowed two or fewer runs in nine of the 13 contests, impressed him throughout the road trip, as did the defense.
“Everybody we put on the mound was really strong,” Rychcik said. “We’re keeping the runs down, and we’re still making errors that we have to get better at, but I think in all our defense really improved.
“There are some plays I would like to get back, but from the weeks prior, there is definitely an improvement. Just the way we move out there, with confidence now and a real understanding of where everybody’s at.”
BU then lost 2-1 to Quinnipiac University before returning to Tampa, Fla. for the USF The Game Tournament this past weekend. Things took off from the start for the Terriers, who opened up the tournament with an extra-innings, come-from-behind 10-9 win over Kent State University, followed by a less dramatic 7-0 win over Florida A&M University. The Terriers dropped a 4-0 decision to Texas Tech the next day before bouncing back with a 4-1 win over Winthrop University to salvage the double header.
The team ended the tournament and the road trip with a walk-off 3-2 win over Jacksonville University (18-12) on Sunday. BU went ahead 1-0 in the third inning before watching Jacksonville tie it in the fourth and eventually go up 2-1 in the seventh. In the bottom half of the inning, two crucial Jacksonville errors allowed junior outfielder Erica Casacci and redshirt freshman first baseman Chelsea Kehr to score, sending the Terriers home on a high note.
“They’re a pretty good team,” Rychcik said of Jacksonville. “They were ahead late and we got two in the bottom of the seventh for a walk-off, [shortstop Brittany Clendenny] got a big hit as a freshman, and we got some hits with two strikes, so we had some good offense.”
The offense that came through against Jacksonville averaged nearly five runs per game this trip.
“I think – and it is still early – that we got to see a glimpse of our offense,” Rychcik said. “I’m pretty confident that we’re going to be a pretty good team when we get to conference [play].”