Courtesy Tufts Sports Information
MEDFORD, Mass. - Entering Sunday needing to defeat Williams College twice in order to win the 2016 NESCAC Championship, the Tufts University softball team won the first game 13-6 to force a deciding game seven in the tournament.
The Jumbos (28-9) and Ephs (31-9) play again at 3:30 p.m. Sunday with the winner taking the conference title and the automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
In game six which started at 1 p.m. Sunday, Tufts scored an incredible 11 runs in the first inning. The Jumbos sent 15 batters to the plate. After Samantha Siciliano led off with a single and Christian Cain walked, Raina Galbiati singled home the first run. Another walk loaded the bases and Summer Horowitz was hit by a pitch making it 2-0. Williams recorded the first out, but Christina Raso followed with a run-scoring single and it was 3-0.
Maggie Hoffman's RBI single put Tufts up 4-0 before the Ephs made the second out of the inning. However, the Jumbos would score seven more times, including an RBI single by Siciliano, run-scoring walks to Cain and Galbiati, and then a grand slam by Cassie Ruscz.
Tufts would add to the lead with a single run in the third as Horowitz again was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to put Tufts ahead 12-0.
From there, Galbiati - Tufts' starting pitcher - just had to prevent a big inning. After holding the Ephs scoreless in the first and second though, Williams rallied for five in the third. Mackenzie Murphy hit a two-run single and Kacey Cramer smacked a three-run homer pulling the hosts within 12-5.
Galbiati kept Williams off the scoreboard in the fourth and fifth, though the Ephs left the bases loaded in the fourth. Williams pulled within 12-6 in the bottom of the sixth with Murphy again producing an rbi base hit.
The Jumbos scored their 13th run with a bases-loaded walk to Ruscz in the seventh. Galbiati retired Williams 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to force a final game.
Tufts had nine hits and walked nine times in the game. Ruscz finished 2-for-3 with five RBIs and two runs. Siciliano was 2-for-4 with three runs and an rbi at the top of the order. Cain, Galbiati, and Carrie Copacino all scored twice. Galbiati went the distance, allowing 13 hits and six runs in seven innings for her 10th win.
Williams ended up out-hitting Tufts with 13. Erica Li was 3-for*4 with a run, while Murphy, Lexi Curt, and Melissa Cendejas all had two hits. Brooke Bovier took the pitching loss.