Softball, Sports

Softball ends 3-game losing stretch with mercy-rule win

After losing three games in as many days, the Boston University softball team avoided dropping to .500, finishing its weekend at College of the Holy Cross with a five-inning victory.

FALON MORAN/DAILY FREE PRESS  STAFF Senior first baseman Chelsea Kehr had two hits and also drove in two runs in BU’s 11-1 win versus Holy Cross.
Senior first baseman Chelsea Kehr had two hits and also drove in two runs in BU’s 11-1 win versus Holy Cross.

The Terriers (20-18, 5-4 Patriot League) had difficulties early this weekend with a rematch against rival Boston College on Thursday at home. Sophomore pitcher Lauren Hynes, the team’s mainstay in the circle this year, was asked to go the distance for her eighth consecutive game. Hynes pitched well, allowing only six hits and two earned runs in her seven innings of work. However, her offense failed to back her up.

In the bottom of the first, the Terriers threatened to strike first against the Eagles (22-17), but eventually fell short. After drawing a leadoff walk, senior right fielder Jayme Mask advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from freshman center fielder Moriah Connolly. Senior shortstop Brittany Clendenny then singled to right field, but Mask was gunned down at the plate thanks to a solid throw by right fielder Taylor Coroneos.

Clendenny’s single was the Terriers’ sole hit of the day, as BC pitcher Jordan Weed retired her next 18 batters. The Eagle offense then scored runs in each of the next three innings. After loading the bases, Hynes walked in a run in the second, and RBI from sophomore Jessie Daulton and first baseman Nicole D’Argento in the third and fourth innings sealed the Terriers’ fate as they lost 3-0.

BU coach Kathryn Gleason said she was unhappy after the Terriers’ poor showing on the offensive side.

“[I’m] disappointed in our effort,” Gleason said. “I asked them before the game to just focus on the fundamentals and do the little things and I don’t think we did that. It’s tough to win when you only get one hit.

“We started the game off nice. I thought at the beginning of the game we were getting some balls in play, but we just didn’t come through.”

Still searching for their 20th win, the Terriers headed to Worcester Saturday to begin a Patriot League series with Holy Cross (7-16, 5-4 Patriot League). The Crusaders came into the weekend cold at the plate. For the season, Holy Cross is batting .250 and has just a .317 on base percentage. However, the Crusaders managed to come through, sweeping the two games played Saturday afternoon.

In game one, Hynes let up three runs on four hits in the third, with RBI from sophomore Emily Jarvis and senior Sarah Free, who later scored in the inning off a throwing error by senior catcher Amy Ekart.

BU responded in the top of the fifth with a two-run double from Clendenny. But after plating one in the bottom of the frame off freshman pitcher Makinna Akers, the Crusaders took the game by a score of 4-2.

The second game was another closely contested matchup. Trading runs throughout, sophomore pitcher Melanie Russell was called upon to close out the game in her first appearance since March 8. Russell’s return was spoiled, though, as two errors from Clendenny and one from senior first baseman Chelsea Kehr cost the team two runs, and Holy Cross walked off with the sweep, taking the game 6-5.

Despite dropping both Saturday games, there were several positives for the Terriers. Bouncing back from their one-hit loss to the Eagles, the team boasted production up and down the lineup.

Kehr finished Saturday with four hits and two RBI, while Clendenny had three hits with four RBI. Connolly also tallied three hits, four runs and four swiped bags. Additionally, the two Terrier pitchers who had been out for weeks with injuries, Russell and Akers, finally returned, taking an enormous amount of pressure off of Hynes.

Gleason said she was happy to get Russell and Akers some innings this past weekend after missing some time.

“We just wanted to get them back in the games, get them comfortable,” Gleason said. “It was great for us to have those options… It was a good thing for us to have them there [this weekend].”

Sunday, the Terriers worked quickly, as they looked to snap their four-game losing streak. Following a leadoff foul out from Connolly, freshman third baseman Brittany Younan got the offense rolling for BU with a double, her first of three hits on the day. Kehr sent Younan home with a double of her own and Hynes and junior first baseman Mandy Fernandez each added doubles.

Ekart followed with a two-run home run, totaling five runs in the inning. The bats did not stop there as the team scored in each of the first four innings to secure an 11-1 win and Hynes’ 13th win of the season.

“We knew they were going to come back with their change up pitcher,” Gleason said. “[We focused on] attacking her from the beginning … [and] and hitting the ball on the ground …When you put the ball in play, good things can happen.”

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