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Let's Play Ball! Bulldogs break hiatus with busy weekend featuring NEC opener

Photo by: Tom O'Brien
Photo by: Tom O'Brien

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – After a two week hiatus, the Bryant University softball team returns to the diamond over the weekend, opening Northeast Conference play with a doubleheader at Mount St. Mary's on Saturday before battling Boston College on Sunday.

After numerous postponements and cancelations due to unplayable field conditions over the last two weeks, the Bulldogs enter weekend action with a 7-17 record, most recently going 2-3 at the Cal State Northridge Tournament in the latter part of their Spring Break road trip.

Senior centerfielder Madeline Velasquez (Los Angeles, Calif.) currently leads her team with a .292 average to go along with a team-high 21 hits and five doubles. Junior Elle Madsen (Wheat Ridge, Colo.) paces the squad in the power categories with seven homeruns and 20 RBI while classmate Hayley Bottino (Canyon Country, Calif.) enters Saturday's doubleheader with four homers and 12 RBI (both second best on the team).

Mount St. Mary's comes into Saturday's NEC opener with a 5-16 mark, most recently sweeping a doubleheader vs. Coppin State on Wednesday. Winners of four of their last five, the Mountaineers are led by freshman utility player Morgan Alisauckas who ranks first on her team with a .340 average, six homeruns, and 17 RBI.  In the circle, freshman Marian Ruf, senior Danni Cummings, and sophomore Sam Litchtner have combined for a 7.17 ERA in 121 innings of work thus far. Last season, the Black and Gold swept The Mount behind a dominating performance in the circle from Madsen, who allowed just five hits in 14 innings of work while accounting for three of Bryant's six total runs on the day at the dish.

On Sunday, the Bulldogs will head to Plymouth, Mass., for a showdown with Boston College at 6 p.m. at Plymouth North High School. After having their last four games canceled, the Eagles enter Sunday's game with a 14-13 overall record coming off a three game sweep at the hands of North Carolina two weeks ago. Through 27 games, freshman outfielder Annie Murphy leads the way with a .318 average to go along with five doubles and 16 RBI, while sophomore Taylor Coroneos rounds out the over.300 hitters with 23 hits and 15 runs scored. In the circle, freshman Allyson Frei has thrown 113 of 176.2 total innings, compiling a 2.85 ERA with 119 strikeouts. Last season, catcher Tatiana Cortez singled handedly led BC to a 6-3 win over the Bulldogs going 2-for-3 with a pair of three-run homeruns.