Softball: Terriers Set for Turnpike Trophy Series

By: Alex Smith

The month of March was not kind to the Boston University Terriers. A record of 3-16 followed up their 5-4 start in February, and BU saw a whopping nine games either cancelled or postponed in that same span. Seven of those were meant to be played at home, yet here we stand in April with BU having hosted just one home contest.

Now 8-20 overall, the Terriers have yet to record a league win (0-3) and have dropped their last eight straight. They haven’t even taken the field since March 30th, and have yet to hold a practice on home turf.

Finally, though, it seems we’re set for cooperative weather for a crucial Patriot League series this weekend against Holy Cross. With a 0% chance of rain on both Saturday and Sunday, softball fans can rejoice as Saturday’s doubleheader and Sunday’s matinee should be playable with temperatures in the low 50s.

For the Terriers, the series marks their best chance for a mid-season reversal of fortune. Holy Cross have struggled to the tune of a 5-16 record, though they do enter Saturday off a 2-1 series win over Army last weekend.

A quick look at the numbers of the Crusaders tells the entire story of their season. With four hitters above the .300 mark, hitting has not been a difficulty for BU’s I-90 rivals. In the circle, though, their performance has been abysmal. The Crusaders have used three different pitchers, none of whom has an era below 5.00. Opponents have abused this Holy Cross staff, hitting .327 collectively to go with 15 home runs.

BU’s squad this year has been similar following the graduation of last years’ two standout hurlers. Freshman Kali Magane is BU’s preferred starter in her rookie campaign, and has fared slightly better than her Worcester counterparts with an ERA of 4.32. Senior Makinna Akers has been used primarily in a relief role, starting in just four of her 20 appearances, and sports a 3.52 ERA while leading the staff in strikeouts.

At the dish, senior Moriah Connolly has been stellar in the leadoff spot, and ranks eighth among qualified Patriot League batters hitting .359. She also leads all Terrier hitters in walks, facilitating her outrageous dominance on the base paths. She is by far the league’s premier stolen base threat; her 24 steals this season double up the next closest Patriot Leaguer.

In the middle of the order, the Terriers will be looking to get the bats going around the consistent presence of Gabi Martinez and Alex Heinen. Martinez has emerged as a complete hitter in her senior season, playing left field as Connolly has moved to short. She’s always had power, ranking second on the team in extra base hits, but a .404 on base percentage has given the lineup more depth.

Heinen has blossomed in her sophomore season, leading the team with five bombs and tying Martinez with 17 RBI. With a solid 1-2-3 punch, BU needs hitters like Jilee Schanda and Kaitlin Sahlinger to bring more balance to the bottom half of the order as they attempt to reverse their recent skid.

An 0-3 start to conference play saw BU outscored 30-10 across three games against Lehigh, but the Terriers will be looking to put up some crooked numbers on a vulnerable Holy Cross staff this weekend. Two things are for sure: there will be games, and their will be runs.

This weekend’s series can be heard on mixlr.com/wtbusports with a plethora of WTBU broadcasters on the call.

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