In accordance with trends that have developed over the course of this season, the Boston University softball team partook in another nail-biter. In Tuesday’s 1-0 decision, BU came out on the winning side of the shutout as it defeated the present leader of the Ivy League Conference, Harvard University.
As has been the case many times this year for BU, the battle between the Terriers (25-13, 8-3 America East) and the Crimson (24-11) boiled down to a gritty duel between pitchers. Sophomore Holli Floetker, backed up by the once-again flawless BU defense, kept Harvard at bay for all seven innings, and kept the BU offense within range to garner the win with only a single run.
“It was one of those games. Both pitchers threw really well,” said BU coach Shawn Rychcik. “Their second kid [sophomore Laura Ricciardone] that came in was really good, and they’ve got a really nice staff. I wasn’t expecting a big run-scoring game. It usually is pretty tight when their number one pitcher [senior Rachael Brown] goes, and she’s a senior – we’ve faced her a lot of times now – so it’s just good to get the win.”
Floetker’s dominance almost single-handedly controlled the Crimson offense for large portions of the game. She retired the first 10 batters she faced on her way to racking up nine strikeouts and allowing only three hits. The win marks Floetker’s fourth shutout of the season, and her overall record now stands at 14-3.
Ricciardone and Brown finished with statistics that resembled those of Floetker. Their cumulative eight strikeouts and four allowed hits forced the Terriers to use any and all offensive strategies at their disposal.
In the first and third innings, BU managed to get one hit from sophomore third baseman Megan Volpano and junior second baseman Emily Roesch, respectively. However, the team could not bring the runners around, as Volpano was left on base and Roesch was caught trying to steal second.
After stagnant fourth and fifth innings, the Terriers began to approach their sole run early in the sixth. Senior first baseman Melanie Delgado and sophomore right fielder Jayme Mask each singled to start the inning, and freshman Kendra Meadows replaced Delgado on the base paths. After a sacrifice bunt by senior left fielder Erica Casacci advanced the runners to second and third, Volpano brought Meadows home with a sacrifice fly to center.
“It makes it a heck of a lot easier on us when you only have to go up there offensively and get maybe one or two runs – especially against a good pitcher,” Rychcik said. “When you’re up there and you’re down three or four [runs] and you’re facing a good pitcher, it makes it awful hard.”
Immediately prior to the Terriers’ successful sixth inning, the Crimson appeared poised to score a few runs of their own during the inning’s top half. A single followed by a hit batter and another single loaded the bases with two outs for Harvard sophomore Allison Scott. Floetker managed to get the number five hitter to ground out to Volpano, leaving three runners stranded on the bases and effectively silencing the Crimson offense for the inning as well as the rest of the game.
Rychcik said he is happy with his team’s resilience and ability to come through in difficult situations against tough opponents.
“Really good win against a really good team,” Rychcik said. “I’m just real happy we played good defense. . . . Holli made a big pitch and then finished it off in a good way in the seventh.”