MEDFORD, Mass. – It was impossible to score on the Tufts University softball team on Tuesday at Spicer Field, as the Jumbos defeated visiting Wheaton (Mass.), 1-0, in a nine-inning affair during Game 1, and then cruised to a 2-0 victory during Game 2 action in Medford, Massachusetts.
|Maggie Hoffman scored the game-winning run in the first during Game 2.|
The Jumbos (22-14, 8-4 in NESCAC East Division) concluded their 2017 regular season on a four-game winning streak, as the squad will now await a possible berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Lyons (18-19, 12-6 in NEWMAC) suited up for their final regular-season games on Tuesday.
Senior first baseman Summer Horowitz had the clutch gene working during first-game action, as she belted the game-winning RBI single to left field with one down in the ninth, scoring freshman pinch runner Emily Serata from third.
Junior pitcher Raina Galbiati (8-2) earned the complete-game victory on the mound in Game 1, as she was in a groove on the hill from the start. She threw a two-hitter, facing 31 batters in the nine frames, while sitting seven people down with strikeouts.
The extra-inning rule in college softball dictates that a runner starts on second base, which definitely adds a level of excitement for the fans, but can lead to high-stress situations on the field. Galbiati was up to the challenge, getting out of jams in the eighth and ninth. In the top of the eighth, with the go-ahead run on second, Galbiati struck out back-to-back hitters, and then forced senior captain Mary DeMoura to ground out.
Senior pitcher Danielle Cimino (12-8) was credited with loss on the mound for the visitors, but she was fantastic during 8 1/3 innings of work, especially in the bottom of the eighth. The Jumbos put runners on the corners with no outs, but she was able to work out of the jam with help from her defense.
Sophomore Amolee Hawkins was thrown out at home on a heads-up play by sophomore second baseman Chloe Woodward, resulting in the first out, and then Cimino forced freshman Jamie Stevens to ground out and senior right fielder Maggie Hoffman to line out.
With runners on the corners and no outs in the top of the ninth, Galbiati forced senior Morgan Walsh to line out to shortstop, and then the Jumbos turned a top-notch double play. Cimino entered the box and laid down a bunt, as Galbiati retrieved the ball and threw a rocket to sophomore second baseman Kristen Caporelli at first, and then Caporelli turned around and fired a perfect throw to junior catcher Raven Fournier, who applied the tag on DeMoura at the plate.
Galbiati did not allow a hit through 3 1/3 innings, while Cimino retired the side in order during the first, sixth and seventh frames, as there were no walks in the game. The Jumbos were able to get eight hits on Cimino led by 2-for-4 performances (two singles) from senior captain Cassie Ruscz and Fournier. Ruscz leads the NESCAC Conference with 11 homers and leads the Jumbos with 44 hits and 36 RBIs, while Fournier leads the squad in batting average (.440), on-base percentage (.567) and runs scored (29).
Freshman pitcher Gillian O'Connor (10-5), who has been a workhorse for the Jumbos during her rookie season, went the distance in the 2-0 Game 2 triumph. The Montgomery, New Jersey, native has 10 wins, ranking her No. 5 in the entire NESCAC Conference, as she retired 10 in a row, ranging from the second to the fifth.
The Jumbos made sure that it did not take nine innings for a team to score this time, as Hoffman blasted a one-out double to left in the first. Hoffman moved up a base on a single to center by Ruscz, and then Fournier played a little bit of small ball, driving the game-winning sacrifice fly to right, as Hoffman crossed home with the first run.
The Jumbos gave themselves a little more breathing room, adding an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. Senior captain Carrie Copacino tallied a one-out bunt single, as she continues to get infield singles at a high rate with her second-to-none speed and handling of the bat. Hoffman, who has registered an impressive .422 batting average this season, connected on a single down the left-field line, as Copacino claimed second. Next, Ruscz drove an RBI single to center, giving the quick Copacino more than enough time to round third and score the second run of the game.
The Jumbos were led at the plate in Game 2 by Hoffman (2-for-3, double, single, run scored) and Ruscz (2-for-3, two singles, RBI). Junior pitcher Allison Cox (3-9) held her own against a Jumbos' lineup that has the ability to put up runs quickly, as she gave up two runs on eight hits in five frames. Sophomore pitcher Shelbi Wilson threw a 1-2-3 inning of relief for the visitors in the sixth.
Written by Trevor Wenners, Athletic Communications Intern