Softball, Sports

Crimson unbeaten in previous 20

With momentum on its side, the Boston University softball team will look to continue its six-game winning streak with four games at home in as many days.

First up for the Terriers (25-18, 8-4 Patriot League) is a Thursday afternoon matchup against cross-river rival Harvard University.

Much like BU, the Crimson (27-11) are playing with a lot of momentum, but their streak is one of monstrous proportions. Harvard has not lost in their last 20 contests, which includes two ties. A scoreless game against Princeton University and an 8-8 contest versus the University of Pennsylvania were suspended in the fourth and sixth innings, respectively. Harvard’s last defeat was a 2-1 contest against California State University–Bakersfield on March 21.

Leading the charge for Harvard is senior Kasey Lange, who is having a spectacular year at the dish. Lange leads her team in all but two hitting categories this season, including home runs, average and RBI.

But BU’s confident bats will look to put Harvard’s long streak to an end. The Terriers’ Patriot League leading offense has outscored opponents 36-10 over the last six games and will try to put a dent in a Crimson pitching staff that boasts the NCAA’s 24th-best ERA at 1.94.

BU coach Kathryn Gleason said she is treating the game against the streaking Crimson like any game.

“I don’t think it’s different than any other,” Gleason said of the matchup. “I just think it’s a great inner-city rival here … I know they’re on an [18]-game win streak and they’re undefeated in the Ivy League, so I know they’re having a great season. They’re a very good team, very well coached.”

The Terriers’ senior right fielder Jayme Mask and senior shortstop Brittany Clendenny hope to continue leading their surging offense this weekend and continue the win streak against a tough Harvard team.

Over the winning stretch, Mask has been a hitting machine, scoring nine runs, while Clendenny has driven in five, including a two-run homer to right field in Wednesday’s win against the University of Rhode Island.

Despite the pressure associated with a win streak, Gleason said she does not let that affect the team’s mindset.

“Just one game at a time,” Gleason said of preparing for the games. “That’s all we focus on is one game at a time … I don’t think we look ahead or look behind, we just look at what’s in front of us.”

Following the matchup against the Crimson, BU will have a three-game series against Patriot League foe Lafayette College over the coming weekend.

To describe the Leopards’ (6-29, 4-11 Patriot League) 2014 season thus far as frustrating would be an understatement. In Patriot League play, the team falls dead last in six offensive categories, most notably average, runs and RBI. They do however lead the league in one offensive category — strikeouts.

The other side of the ball has not been much better for the Leopards either, as they are second-to-last in the conference in pitching and fielding with a bloated 4.11 ERA and 29 errors.

Along with the Terriers’ big bats, BU has seen the return of freshman pitcher Makinna Akers and sophomore pitcher Melanie Russell from injury. The pitching has been strong since they have come back to the rotation, which could mean trouble for the struggling Leopard bats.

Gleason said at the end of the Terriers’ matchup against URI (11-29) Tuesday, that the team started to take its foot off the gas pedal at the end of the contest, allowing Rhode Island to get back into the game. Going up against a struggling Lafayette team, Gleason said the URI game has taught her team some valuable lessons.

“I think we learned a lot [Tuesday]. We learned that we had a lot of work to do on the infield and the outfield and with our footwork … We talked today about how no game is ever over. We learned a lot [Tuesday].”

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