Softball Captures 10th NESCAC Title

Two-time defending national champion Jumbos also tie NCAA winning streak records

softball team posing with NESCAC banner

Sophomore Shelby Lipson delivered the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the sixth, and senior Allyson Fournier pitched a two-hit shutout as the Tufts softball team defeated Williams College 1-0 to win its fourth straight NESCAC championship and 10th overall at Spicer Field on May 3.

In addition to winning the conference championship, Tufts (41-0) tied two NCAA winning streak records with the victory. Head coach Cheryl Milligan’s Jumbos have now won 43 in a row overall dating back to last year and 41 straight this season. Both records were originally set by the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) in 2004-05.

The Tufts softball team next hosts NCAA Division III regional action at Spicer Field on May 8-10, as the Jumbos welcome MIT, Wellesley and Elms College to Medford. The Jumbos will play Wellesley College (22-14) in opening round action on May 8. The double-elimination tournament will continue with three games on May 9, with one game and an if-necessary game on May 10. The winner advances to one of 16 best two-out-of-three super regionals. The NCAA Division III finals will be held in Salem, Virginia, on May 21-26.

In the NESCAC final, with the score 0-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth, Tufts sophomore Cassie Ruscz drilled a single high off the fence in left-center to lead off. First-year Sara Wilner-Giwerc came in to pinch run. She took second on a ground out and scored when Lipson laced a single to right-center.

Fournier pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning to finish off the victory. She retired the final 14 Ephs while improving to 25-0 on the season.

As the score indicated, it was a tight game. Williams (30-7) had posed threats to the All-American hurler in each of the first four innings. Senior Mo Frank hit a one-out single in the first. Junior Melissa Cendejas singled to left in the second. Sophomore Alison Michalik reached on an error and stole second in the third. First-year Lexi Curt then took Fournier to the fence in center to lead off the fourth, but Jumbo senior Michelle Cooprider was there to make the catch.

Meanwhile, Tufts left five runners on base, including three in scoring position in the first two innings against Williams senior starter Emma Harrington. They also had a golden chance to score with a runner on third and one out in the fifth. However, a suicide squeeze attempt backfired. Williams senior catcher Lindsey Precht chased down Jumbo senior Bri Keenan as she tried to retreat back to third after a missed bunt.

Fournier struck out 14 with no walks in seven innings. Lipson and Rusch were both 2 for 3 as Tufts finished with three hits.

Tufts earns NESCAC’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division III tournament. The Jumbos, who have won back-to-back NCAA titles, will be making their 15th NCAA appearance.

Tufts Sports Information Director Paul Sweeney can be reached at 


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