Just Perfect

Jumbo softball finishes regular season 38-0 following double-header sweep at Wheaton

Tufts softball player getting a hit

The two-time defending NCAA champion Tufts softball team finished its regular season undefeated at 38-0, sweeping Wheaton College in a double-header on April 26. The Jumbos won the games 10-0 (five innings) and 8-5.

Senior Allyson Fournier improved to 22-0 on the season, allowing only one hit and a walk with 11 strikeouts in the first game. Sophomore first baseman Cassie Ruscz and first-year catcher Raven Fournier both homered and combined for five RBIs in the second game.

Tufts has now won 40 consecutive games, including the last two games at the NCAA finals last May, when the team captured the 2014 title. Head coach Cheryl Milligan’s Jumbos, ranked number 1 nationally, will host the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship tournament at Spicer Field on May 1-3.

Wheaton College, ranked number 18 in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Top 25 poll, dropped to 28-6 overall with the pair of losses at home.

Fournier was chosen as NESCAC Pitcher of the Week—her fourth this season and the 14th of her career. She made six starts and one relief appearance during the week and did not allow a run in 38.1 innings. She struck out 92 and walked five while earning seven wins. For the season, she has a remarkable 0.06 earned run average.

The Jumbos took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of game one as senior Michelle Cooprider launched a solo home run to left field, her second of the spring.

Tufts went on to score six runs in the second inning, which was highlighted by a three-run homer by junior Christina Raso. In the fifth, the Jumbos added three more runs on a sharply hit double up the middle by Ruscz that reached the center field fence and cleared the bases.

Fournier gave up a leadoff hit in the bottom of the fifth, but followed it with a strikeout and foul popup to the shortstop. Then, after Wheaton had a runner thrown out at second on a stolen base attempt, the Jumbos were able to lock up the victory.

In game two, Tufts junior Erica County pushed her record to 15-0, throwing seven innings, while yielding seven hits, five runs (four earned) and three walks to go with two strikeouts.

Ruscz gave Tufts a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a towering two-run homer that just missed hitting the left field foul pole. Raven Fournier followed with an opposite field home run to right in the next at-bat, as the Jumbos extended their advantage to 3-0. Ruscz paces Tufts in home runs with 10, while Raven Fournier ranks second with six.

Wheaton sophomore Caroline Fairbanks got a run right back for the hosts in the second inning with a no-doubter home run to left field, her team-leading 10th round-tripper of the season.

Tufts answered with three runs in the fourth inning as first-year Samantha Siciliano notched an RBI single to center, while two more runs came across home plate later in the frame on a fielding error.

Tufts Sports Information Director Paul Sweeney can be reached at paul.sweeney@tufts.edu. 

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