Softball Streak Continues
Senior Michelle Cooprider hit a two-run homer to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, and first-year catcher Raven Fournier singled home the game-winning run in the ninth as the Tufts softball team defeated MIT 3–2 to win an NCAA championship regional final at Spicer Field on May 10.
The Jumbos now advance to the NCAA super regionals against Worcester Polytechnic Institute on May 14. The Engineers won the Williamstown regional with a 4–0 victory against Williams College, also on May 10. The teams will be playing for a berth in the NCAA finals in Salem, Virginia, on May 21–26.
Tufts (44–0) extended its NCAA record winning streak to 46 overall and 44 this season.
MIT, which needed to defeat Tufts twice on May 10 to take the regional crown, seemed to be in control of the game. The Engineers had three hits in the first inning off Tufts ace Allyson Fournier, E15—singles by sophomore Natalie Shifflet, first-year Jasmin Joseph and first-year Mandy Lee. They took advantage of two Jumbo errors in the frame to score twice and lead 2–0.
Joseph hit a one-out double in the third for MIT, but was stranded. The visitors then loaded the bases on singles by first-year Katie Shade, Shifflet and Joseph. However, Fournier doused the threat with back-to-back strikeouts. Still, the Engineers had seven hits in the first five innings.
Meanwhile, MIT junior pitcher Lexi Marshall held Tufts to one hit and a walk through five innings.
Tufts, struggling offensively and with a mind toward resting Fournier for a potential second game, sent junior Erica County on in relief to start the sixth. She blanked the Engineers, and then Tufts senior Bri Keenan hit a one-out single to left-center in the bottom of the inning. Cooprider followed with a line drive, which cleared the fence in left to tie the game at 2–2.
County returned for the seventh, but ran into trouble with two outs, with two runners getting on base. Fournier re-entered and got a strikeout to keep the score 2–2.
Both Marshall and Fournier allowed base-runners in the eighth, but neither scored. Fournier then recorded a 1-2-3 top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Tufts junior Christina Raso led off with a single to center. An MIT error on a sacrifice attempt put Jumbos at first and third with no outs. Marshall was relieved by senior Ellie Fodor, and the Engineers were able to cut Raso down at the plate on senior Gracie Marshall’s ground ball to Lee at short. But then Raven Fournier hit a sharp grounder through the left side of the infield, scoring sophomore Shelby Lipson for the game-winning run.
Allyson Fournier was named the regional’s Most Outstanding Player after winning twice earlier in the weekend and returning to shut down MIT in the late innings of the May 10 game, when she went 7.1 innings, allowing eight hits and two runs (both unearned) with 15 strikeouts and no walks.
Raso had two of Tufts’ six hits. She, Cooprider and Keenan earned spots on the All-Tournament team.
Tufts Sports Information Director Paul Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.