NCAA Regional: Eastern Connecticut 2, Tufts 0

NCAA Regional: Eastern Connecticut 2, Tufts 0

Courtesy Tufts Sports Information

MEDFORD, Mass. – Junior Casey Maggiore hit an RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning leading the Tufts University softball team to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over WPI in Game 5 of the NCAA Division III Regional at Spicer Field on Saturday.

Tufts (32-9) had lost Game 3 against Eastern Connecticut State earlier in the day and was on the brink of elimination, down 3-0 to WPI through three innings. However, the Jumbos rallied for two runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and another in the sixth to eliminate the Engineers (33-11).

The Jumbos will now face Eastern Connecticut in the championship round on Sunday. Tufts will have to win twice against the Warriors, whose pitcher Morgun Bolduck shut out the Jumbos 2-0 on four hits Saturday. The teams will meet again Sunday with a berth into the NCAA Super Regionals on the line.

WPI scored all three of its runs against Tufts in the first inning against starter Kristina Haghdan. Lindsay Ambrosino, Caraline Wood and Renee LeClaire all singled to load the bases. Then another single by Cassie Graca, a sac fly by Kyle Juarez and the fifth base hit of the inning by Kaitlyn Hess plated the runs.

The Jumbos had runners on base early in the game against WPI starter Katie Martin, but couldn't capitalize. Meanwhile, Haghdan would not allow another run although the Engineers would get runners into scoring position in the second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

In the bottom of the fourth, catcher Christian Cain started the comeback with a base hit. A WPI error put two runners on base and then Emily Serata hit a two-run double to left-center bringing Tufts within 3-2. Mackenzie Phillips entered to pitch for WPI and stranded two on base by getting the final two outs of the frame.

Maggiore hit a one-out single to start the fifth. With two outs, back-to-back singles by Jamie Stevens and Maria Ostapovich (RBI) scored Maggiore to tie the game at 3-3.

A Tufts error and a walk put WPI runners on first and second with one out in the top of the sixth, but Haghdan got a pair of force outs to keep the game tied.

Into the bottom of the sixth, Mia Steinberg hit a one-out single to right. After the second out was made, Maggiore doubled to right field scoring Steinberg for the go-ahead run. Wood then doubled to lead off the seventh for WPI, but Haghdan got the next three outs in order to end it.

Haghdan improved to 13-3 allowing eight hits and three runs in seven inning. Maggiore went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI while Serata finished 3 for 3 with the two RBIs. Kristin Caporelli had two hits.

Wood and LeClaire both had two hits and scored a run for WPI. Phillips took the pitching loss (17-5), allowing six hits and two runs in 2.2 innings.

In Tufts' first game of the day, Eastern's Bolduk allowed a two-out single to Caporelli in the first, a one-out double by Stevens in the second, a lead-off single by Maggie Lebinski in the third and then a lead-off single by Cain in the seventh. Tufts never advanced to third base in the game. Bolduc improved to 17-1 with five strikeouts and a walk in the outing.

Sabrina LeMere doubled home the Warriors' first run in the third. Eastern, playing as the home team, then added an insurance run in the sixth. With one out, Laura Zenk walked and took second on a single by pinch-hitter Kamdynn Moroney. Bolduc followed with an RBI single to help herself.

In addition to earning the pitching win, Bolduc was 2-for-3 in the game. LeMere also had two hits for the Warriors (31-11).

Sophomore Kristi Van Meter took the loss (13-3) for Tufts allowing six hits and two runs in 5.1 innings.

Tufts is in the Regional final for the second straight year.