Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information
MEDFORD, Mass. - The Tufts University softball team won its 11th NESCAC Championship with a 3-2 victory over Williams College in the conference final Sunday morning at Spicer Field.
The Jumbos, who scored all off their runs and had all of their hits (two) during the first inning, receive the NESCAC's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Williams (33-5), which had the tying run on second base with one out in the top of the seventh, will await a likely at-large NCAA berth.
A Williams outfield error on a fly ball by Jumbo 2B Emma Della Volpe got things started for Tufts in the first. When Jumbo SS Mia Steinberg hit a ground ball to third, the Ephs tried to make a play on Della Volpe advancing but she was safe. Right fielder Kristen Caporelli plated Della Volpe with a ground ball to short for the first run. Doubles by 1B Casey Maggiore and 3B Jamie Stevens scored Caporelli and Maggiore, respectively, and quickly it was 3-0.
Tufts starter Kristi Van Meter retired the first eight batters she faced before Eph CF Kristina Alvarado doubled to center. Shortstop Jessica Kim followed with another double down the left-field line scoring Alvarado for the Ephs' first run.
Williams starter Mackenzie Murphy was perfect after the first inning, retiring all 15 batters she faced from the second through sixth innings.
The Ephs got a runner to third with one out in the top of the fourth after DP Mara Kipnis led off with a single. However, Van Meter retired the next two batters on a foul out and a fly ball to end the inning. Then, in the fifth, a pair of Tufts errors helped the Ephs put runners on second and third with two outs. Van Meter again got the final out on a pop-up. Williams then put two more runners on in the sixth before Van Meter squelched it with a strike out. The Ephs left eight runners on base overall.
Williams did capitalize on a rally in the seventh and put the tying run in scoring position. Alvarado led it off with a single to left. Kim followed with a double, scoring Alvarado making it a one-run game (3-2). However, with Kim representing the tying run on second, Van Meter got the next three outs to secure the championship for the Jumbos. A pop-up to Della Volpe at second ended it.
Van Meter allowed seven hits and two runs with six strikeouts and a walk while earning her 13th win. The victory was Tufts' 30th of the season as it improved to 30-8.
Kim had two hits and two RBIs for Williams, while Alvarado finished with two hits and two runs. None of the three runs Murphy allowed were earned, and she struck out four in her six innings.
Today marked the eighth time Tufts and Williams have played for the conference championship, with the Jumbos winning five.