Strong Pitching Powers Softball to a Pair of Wins against MIT Wednesday in Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Junior pitcher Raina Galbiati provided the spark that the Tufts University softball needed, as she posted a one-hitter for the team during a five-inning 8-0 triumph over MIT in Game 1 action from Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Wednesday, as the Jumbos posted a two-win day, ending their five-game skid. 

Raven Fournier went 2-for-3, with two RBIs and a run scored in Game 1.

Galbiati (7-1) leads the team with seven victories on the season, as she picked up the 18th victory of her career. The Jumbos (16-11, 4-3 in NESCAC East Division) were victorious 7-3 in second-game action, behind a four-run spurt in the second inning and a complete-game victory by freshman pitcher Gillian O'Connor (6-3). 

During Game 1, junior second baseman and leadoff hitter Samantha Siciliano continued to do her job at the top of the lineup, which is get on base. She went 2-for-3 (two singles) at the plate, reaching base three times and scoring two runs. 

Senior left fielder Maggie Hoffman (2-for-4, two singles, two runs scored), freshman third baseman Jamie Stevens (1-for-3, single, three RBIs, run scored) and junior right fielder Raven Fournier (2-for-3, two singles, two RBIs, run scored) also starred in the win. 

The Jumbos drilled 11 hits in five innings, with four coming during a four-run first inning. Siciliano and Hoffman came out firing, leading off with back-to-back singles, and then Stevens scored the two athletes on a one-out, two-run single down the right-field line. Fournier (walk) crossed home plate on a wild pitch, and then Galbiati plated Stevens with an RBI single to left field, giving the visitors an early four-run lead. 

Junior catcher Sarah Finnigan extended the Jumbos lead to 5-0 in the second, with a two-out RBI single through the left side, scoring Hoffman from third. Senior captain Cassie Ruscz tallied the Jumbos' sixth run in the fourth on an RBI single to center field by Fournier. Ruscz led off the frame with a double to left-center.

Galbiati was in a groove all day on the mound, throwing 46 strikes on 79 pitches, as she left the Engineers' hitless for the opening 3 1/3 innings. The Boulder, Colorado, native posted two strikeouts and walked a pair of batters. The Engineers (20-6, 10-4 in NEWMAC) broke up the no-hitter with a one-out single up the middle by freshman Sarah Von Ahn in the fourth. 

The Jumbos clinched the game with a two-run fifth, as Siciliano crossed home on an RBI single through the left side by Fournier, and then freshman pinch runner Maggie Lebinski scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Stevens. 

The Jumbos kept up the momentum in Game 2, as the team reeled off another four-run inning, occurring in the second inning this time. Fournier led off with a walk, and then advanced to third on a bunt single by sophomore shortstop Christian Cain. Stevens (2-for-3, two RBIs, run scored) registered an RBI single to left field, scoring Fournier. Then with runners at the corners, Stevens stole second base, with the throw allowing Cain to score, extending the visitors' lead to 2-0. 

Stevens and senior captain Carrie Copacino scored a pair of unearned runs of an error with two outs in the frame, as the Jumbos took a 4-0 lead. O'Connor was sharp on the mound early for the Jumbos, posting a 1-2-3 first inning and not allowing a single hit during the first 2 1/3 innings. 

Sophomore pitcher Amber VanHemel (5-1), who was tagged with the loss for the hosts, retired the first two Jumbos in the third inning, but then freshman left fielder Emily Serata drove a single to center. The Voorhees, New Jersey, native was active on the base path, stealing second, and then crossing home on an RBI single to left by senior Summer Horowitz, increasing the advantage to five runs. 

The Engineers were able to solve O'Connor a little bit in the third, with senior Monica Shifflet and junior Jasmin Joseph (2-for-4) tallying one-out singles. Monica Shifflet scored on a double steal, with senior Natalie Shifflet advancing to second, as the Engineers were within 5-1. 

The Jumbos added on a pair of runs in the fourth, with Cain posting an RBI ground out to second, allowing Lebinski to score from third. Freshman pinch runner Maria Ostapovich scored on a two-out RBI single to center by Stevens, giving the Jumbos a 7-1 advantage. 

The Engineers trimmed the deficit to 7-3 in the sixth on a no-out, two-run single to left-center by sophomore Kim Veldee. O'Connor was able to retire the ensuing three batters, and then pitched around a one-out single in the seventh, preserving the four-run victory for the visitors.

O'Connor gave up six hits and three earned runs, to go along with three walks and one strikeout, as she threw 53 strikes on 87 pitches. VanHemel went the distance for the Engineers, giving up eight hits, walking four batters and giving up seven runs, with five being earned. She threw 111 pitches, with 65 being strikes. 

The Jumbos will jump back into NESCAC Conference East Division action with a crucial three-game series against first-place Bowdoin (23-6, 5-1 in East Division) on Friday and Saturday in Brunswick, Maine. The first pitch on Friday is set for 4 p.m. 

Written by Trevor Wenners, Athletic Communications Intern

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