NCAA, Softball, Sports

Softball overcomes Maine during weekend sweep

After a difficult week and a half, the Boston University softball team got itself back on track by defeating the University of Maine twice Saturday. The teams’ third game of the series was rained out Sunday afternoon.

“I’m just real happy we got two wins,” said BU coach Shawn Rychcik. “It was cold weather, and windy and cold, and we did a pretty good job.”

The Terriers’ (22-12, 6-2 America East) first victory was a hard-fought 2-1 win in a game that lasted 12 innings, the Terriers’ longest game of the season. Sophomore pitcher Holli Floetker pitched 10 innings, allowing five hits and one run while striking out eight batters. Junior Whitney Tuthill relieved her for the last two innings, allowing three hits and no runs.

BU scored first in the top of the third when senior first baseman Melanie Delgado reached home on a fielder’s choice by classmate Erica Casacci. Delgado reached base on a double to left field and advanced to third after a single by sophomore right fielder Jayme Mask.

The Terriers’ defense continued to play well, holding off Maine (7-24, 0-5 America East) until the bottom of the seventh. A two-out home run by sophomore Jean Stevens, however, dragged the game into extra innings.

In the eighth and the 10th innings, the Terriers had scoring opportunities but were unable to capitalize on them. They finally pulled ahead of the Black Bears in the top of the 12th. Rookie Emily Felbaum hit a double before a sacrifice bunt by junior second baseman Emily Roesch advanced her to third. Felbaum came home on a ground out by Delgado.

Despite getting two singles in the bottom of the inning, the Black Bears could not pull ahead of the Terriers and BU came out with the 2-1 victory.

“You’re going to have the ups and downs in a season,” Rychcik said. “We’re probably going to have more. But you just keep playing in the zone and seeing what happens.”

The Terriers’ offense found the spark it had not seen in a while in the second game they played on Saturday. The 6-1 victory over Maine demonstrated the team’s offensive power even as the defense continued to shut down its opponents.

“We swung at good pitches and just put the ball in play,” Rychcik said.

Coming off of pitching the final two innings of the previous game, Tuthill performed masterfully for BU, allowing only three hits and one run, courtesy of a two-out home run in the bottom of the seventh.

The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth, when sophomore shortstop Brittany Clendenny singled to right field. Sophomore center fielder Chelsea O’Connor hit a double to center that moved Clendenny to third. A ground out by Roesch drove Clendenny home and put the Terriers on the board for the first time.

“We’ve been pretty solid all year, and yesterday was no exception,” Rychcik said. “We played good ‘D’ and made some plays. Brittany Clendenny made some real nice plays at shortstop. So we got good play all the way around.”

In the next inning, with two outs on the board, the Terriers added another pair of runs. Sophomore third baseman Megan Volpano hit a double to left center, bringing Mask and Casacci home. Volpano led the BU offense with three runs and three RBIs during Saturday’s second game.

“Megan Volpano got a big hit with two outs, and we were able to run,” Rychcik said. “She kind of sparked things and everything went from there.”

BU scored again in the top of the sixth after an RBI double by sophomore catcher Amy Ekart brought Felbaum home. The Terriers added another two runs during their last at bat in the top of the seventh. Volpano added to her RBI total with a single, and a sacrifice fly by Clendenny brought in the Terriers’ last run of the game.

A two-out home run in the bottom of the seventh broke up the shutout, but the Black Bears were unable to put another run on the board, ultimately dropping the contest 6-1.

“We’ve got a tough week ahead of us,” Rychcik said. “We’ve got UMass and then into Albany. So it’s going to be a tough week. It’s good to get up here and swing the bats a little bit.”

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