MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Tufts had 18 hits in the second game to earn a softball double-header split at Middlebury College on Saturday as both teams returned to the field for the first time since May 2019. Tufts won game two 10-4 after the Panthers had walked-off with a 3-2 victory in the first game.
|Reegan Coleman had four hits in the second-game victory.|
The season got off to an exciting start in game one. It was a 2-2 game in the bottom of the seventh when the Panthers loaded the bases and with two outs junior Noelle Ruschil singled home the game-winning run.
Starting pitchers Kristina Haghdan for Tufts and Jewel Ashbrook for Middlebury controlled the game early. Middlebury would get on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the fourth when Sophia Marlino singled with one out and scored on a double by Jen McGann.
Tufts answered by taking the lead with two runs in the top of the fifth. Junior Nicole Russo led off with a double to center field and scored on a single by senior Reegan Coleman. Sophomore Michelle Adelman, who had walked and stole second, also scored on a ground-out by senior Emma Della Volpe. The Panthers tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Kaylee Gumm led off with a double, stole third and scored on a single up the middle from Sophie Bolinger.
The Jumbos had their first two batters reach on singles to start the sixth, but did not score. In the bottom of the seventh, Middlebury loaded the bases with no outs. Tufts got the next two outs, including a force-out at home plate, but Ruschil soon delivered the game-winner.
Casey Maggiore and Russo both had two hits for Tufts in the opener. Freshman Sophia DiCocco took the pitching loss in relief of Haghdan (5 IP, 5 H, 2 R). Middlebury's Ruschil and Bolinger both had two hits, while Ashbrook went the distance for the win.
The Panthers led 3-1 in game two after both teams' bats started fast. Coleman singled and scored on a base hit by Maggiore for Tufts, while Marlino and Bolinger had RBI singles for the hosts. Tufts evened the score at 3-3 in the second with sophomores Rachel Moore and Kat Yuzefpolsky – both seeing their first action in a Tufts uniform today – singled and scored in the frame. Middlebury grabbed the lead back (4-3) as Megan Fox doubled to lead off the bottom of the second and pinch runner Kate Likhite eventually scored on a ground out.
The Jumbos would take the lead for good in the third by scoring twice. Adelman singled and scored on an error, and Yuzefpolsky hit an rbi double to left-center giving Tufts a 5-4 advantage. Tufts pitching would settle down the Panthers from that point, with Russo finishing her outing with a scoreless third and DiCocco hurling four innings of three-hit, no run relief.
Tufts extended its lead late with a run in the sixth and four more in the seventh. Yuzefpolsky, who finished three for four with four rbis and three runs in the nightcap, had rbis in both innings including a two-run single in the seventh. Sophomore Josie Steinberg and Coleman had back-to-back run-scoring hits in the seventh as well.
Coleman finished with four hits and Adelman went 3 for 4 and scored twice in the Tufts victory. Moore had two hits and scored twice while Mia Steinberg added three hits. DiCocco, who did not walk a batter in her three innings, earned her first collegiate victory. Fox and Melanie Mandell had two hits apiece for Mid, while Chloe McNamara absorbed the pitching loss.
Tufts will plan to open its home and NESCAC East schedules next Saturday against Bowdoin College at Spicer Field. The Panthers host Williams for a pair of NESCAC West Division games that day.