WORCESTER - Sophia DiCocco pitched a two-hit shutout and Tufts had 14 hits as the Jumbo softball team opened its NCAA Tournament Super Regional series at WPI on Friday afternoon with a 9-0 victory in six innings. Tufts led 2-0 through five and then scored seven times in the top of the sixth.
The Jumbos (36-10) need just one win on Saturday against the Engineers (33-15) to win the series and advance to the NCAA Finals in Salem, Virginia next week.
DiCocco gave up a bunt single to WPI's Alex Sheehan in the first, and then a two-out single by Shaina Lazarus in the fourth. She struck out three and did not walk a batter while improving to 18-5 in the circle.
Tufts scored after two were out in the top of the second against Engineer starter Katie Martin. Meggie Murphy drew a one-out walk, and then with two outs Nicole Russo singled sharply to left. Emma Jacobson followed by dropping a single into center scoring Murphy.
Then in the third, Michelle Adelman doubled to the fence in left and was sacrificed to third by Bela Jimenez. Josie Steinberg hit a fly ball to right with Adelman tagging and just beating the strong throw from WPI's Callie Case for the second Jumbo run.
DiCocco would get Tufts' seven-run sixth started herself with a seeing-eye single up the middle. Russo then hit the next pitch to the gap in left-center for a run-scoring triple putting Tufts up 3-0. The Jumbos would extend the margin to 6-0 before WPI even recorded an out, as a Jacobson single, an Adelman double and a single by Bela Jimenez plated runs. Even the out was productive, as Steinberg's ground ball brought in another run making it 7-0. Rachel Moore and Russo again had run-scoring base hits to complete the scoring. The Jumbos sent 12 to the plate and had eight hits in the frame.
Tufts then won the game by the eight-run rule in the bottom of the sixth, with a soft ground ball to Moore at second being the final out.
Russo and Jacobson both went 3 for 4 with two rbis and a run for Tufts. Adelman finished 2 for 4 with two runs and an rbi, while Jimenez was 2 for 3 with a run and an rbi. Steinberg drove home two runs and DiCocco recorded two hits.
Saturday's games have been pushed back due to the expected heat. Game two of the series will now start at 5 pm, and the if-necessary third game will be at 7:30 pm.
(Feature photo courtesy of Brian Foley)
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