Bulldogs look to bite Terriers Wednesday afternoon at home
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Looking to snap a three-game skid, the Bryant University softball team hosts its second regional foe in as many days, as the Bulldogs battle Boston University Wednesday afternoon at the Bryant Softball Complex. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
The Bulldogs (4-12) are coming off an exciting home opener that ultimately went in favor of the visiting University of Connecticut, who won by a 6-4 margin yesterday afternoon, but face another quick turnaround against a Terrier (14-8) team that has notched victories against three ranked teams so far this season.
Since moving to the Division I ranks, Bryant and BU have squared off just twice in the last two seasons. The Terriers picked up a 4-0 victory in 2010 before both teams' meeting last April in Boston. After Bryant took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the third inning, BU struck for five runs in the ensuing two innings to go up by a run, 6-5, headed to the fifth, and the Bulldogs were unable to strike back from that point on, as the Terriers notched a one-run win on April 14, 2011.
The Bulldogs continue to be led by a pair of underclassmen, as sophomore Aubrey Mable (Aurora, Colo.) has paced the Bryant offense with a team-leading .432 batting average and .591 slugging percentage. But none have had the hotter bat than freshman Madeline Velasquez (Los Angeles, Calif.) as of late, as the rookie outfielder owns a side-high .533 batting average over the last five games to compliment her also-team-leading .933 slugging percentage. During that stretch, she owns three doubles and one home run along with a team-high seven RBI.
Entering Wednesday on a three-game winning streak, BU also joined Bryant as a participant in the USF Tournament last week in Florida, although the two teams did not face off down in the Sunshine State. Instead, BU picked up wins over a then-ranked No. 23 Syracuse squad, a USC Upstate team that was receiving votes, and also notched victories against Coastal Carolina, Maryland and Northern Illinois to round out their tournament action.
Redshirt sophomore and leadoff hitter Jayme Mask leads the Terriers with a .349 batting average and has scored 13 runs, while sophomore transfer Chelsea O'Connor – who played at the University of Tennessee in 2011 – has crossed the plate a team-high 15 times while posting a .307 batting average. Sophomore third baseman Megan Volpano rounds out the group of plus-.300 batters with a .315 clip on the season and has driven in 12 runs for the Terriers.
BU's strength lies within its pitching ranks, as the Terriers boast a trio of hurlers with sub-5 ERAs. Leading the pack is reigning America East Pitcher of the Year Holli Floetker, as the sophomore owns a team-best 2.03 ERA to compliment a 10-2 record in 15 appearances. She has logged a team-high 80 innings pitched while striking out 61 and allowing 19 walks. Junior Whitney Tuthill has gone an even 3-3 with a 2.19 ERA, while classmate Erin Schuppert has posted a 4.91 ERA and owns a 1-3 record on the season.