Softball, Sports

Softball gears for 1st home game of 2014

Starting its first non-tournament regular season games, the Boston University softball team will face Bryant University Wednesday and then play its first home game Thursday when the Terriers host Providence College.

“I think with this group of people it doesn’t really matter where we play,” said BU coach Kathryn Gleason.  “We’re just so concerned with playing the game that wherever we play it’s going to be comfortable.”

The Terriers (14-11) are coming out of the Yale Invitational where they went 3-1 in four games, including splitting two games with the Bulldogs (10-11).

BU was victorious in the first meeting between the teams Saturday, scoring eight runs, three of them driven in by senior catcher Amy Ekart.

A day later, the Terriers were not as fortunate, as the Bulldogs scored two runs in the top of the sixth to secure a 7-5 victory. Bryant shortstop Aubrey Maple had a game-high four RBI.

“It’s always going to be a challenge playing a team three different times,” Gleason said. “It’s good for us though going into the Patriot League schedule where we’re going to play teams three times.”

As displayed in the last tournament, the strength of this BU team can be found in its offense.  Heading into the game this week, the team is sporting a .324 batting average and has 43 doubles, 11 triples, 227 hits to go with 140 runs, which are all the best in the Patriot League.

Senior outfielder Jayme Mask leads the Terriers with a .452 batting average and has 38 hits and 13 stolen bases.

Leading the team in RBI is senior shortstop Brittany Clendenny, who has 25 thus far. She is also fourth on the team with a .318 batting average.

In addition to the two seniors, two freshmen have also shown their offensive prowess.

Infielder Brittany Younan and her classmate, outfielder Moriah Connolly, have proven to be forces to be reckoned with in the lineup.

Younan has a .392 batting average with 31 hits and 17 RBI to go along with a .532 slugging percentage, good for second on the team in all three categories.

Connolly has shown her quickness on the base paths, leading BU with four triples. She is also a perfect 12-for-12 on stolen base attempts.

“The freshmen have just come in ready to play and ready to go in whatever role we gave them,” Gleason said.  “I was a little concerned coming in with only five seniors and a big freshmen class but the seniors have done a great job of showing them the ways of BU softball.”

Younan received her second Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors on Monday, while Connolly won Patriot League Player of the Week on Feb. 25.

BU will need to continue this quality offense when it takes on Bryant. The Bulldog offense has been strong this year as well and has hit has 17 home runs already this year, 10 more than the Terriers.

The bats are led by Maple and sophomore Elle Madsen. Both have averages over .330 and Madsen leads the team with six home runs. Maple has also contributed with three long balls of her own.

“Bryant is a very aggressive team on the bases, at the plate and they’re very solid defensively,” Gleason said.  “[Bryant coach] Shayne, our alum, Lotito, has done a great job taking down over that program.”

The Terriers may hold the advantage over the Bulldogs, however, due to the Bryant’s team ERA of 4.09.

After taking on Bryant, the Terriers will take on Providence (0-15)  in their first home game of the season. BU has already beaten the Friars this year, defeating them by a score of 10-2. Freshman pitcher Makinna Akers secured her first complete- game win of the year in that win.

The Friars come into the game with a team batting average of .228, a team ERA of 6.70 and are still looking for their first victory of the season.

Having played on the road for the early part of the season, Gleason said she is excited for the opportunity to play at home for the first time.

“It’s always great to be home and nice to be in your home dugout and be with your fans and have your own walkup music,” Gleason said. “But with this team I think they’ll play anywhere.”

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