Courtesy Tufts Sports Informaiton
MEDFORD, Mass. - Cassie Ruscz drove in four runs, including a three-run home run, as the Tufts University softball team defeated Salve Regina University 4-1 in game five of the NCAA Regional Saturday at Spicer Field.
The Jumbos advance to play in the championship round of the Regional on Sunday against WPI. The Engineers defeated Tufts 3-2 in eight innings earlier on Saturday in the winner's bracket final. They will need just one win against Tufts tomorrow to capture the Regional title. Game time is 12 noon with an if necessary game to follow.
Ruscz went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run against the Seahawks, while Erica County earned her 20th win in the pitcher's circle. Tufts reached the 30-win plateau with the victory, improving to 30-11.
Salve Regina, led by two hits from Kara O'Riley, saw its season end with a 25-18 record. The Seahawks were making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
County stranded three Seahawks on base in the first two innings. Francesca Galeazzi led off the game with a single and advanced to third, but did not score. Singles by Emily Woznick and Megan Guest in the second inning did not help produce a run.
The Jumbos would strike first with an unearned run agaisnt Salve starter Nicole Parry in the third. Christina Raso walked with one out, went to second on an outfield error by the Seahawks, and scored on Ruscz's single up the middle.
O'Riley doubled to lead off the Salve fourth and took third on a ground ball, but was stranded there as County sandwiched two ground outs around a strikeout. Kelsey Boarman entered for the Seahawks in the fourth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
However, the Jumbos would open some breathing room after two were out in the fifth. Sara Willner-Giwerc bunted for a single to lead off the inning and took second on a base hit by Carrie Copacino. Boarman got two fly ball outs, but Ruscz mashed a three-run home run to left-center and Tufts led 4-0.
Salve Regina responded with four hits in the sixth to score their first run. Singles by O'Riley, pinch-hitter Lindsay DelGrego, and Genevieve Benoit produced the run scored by O'Riley. However, the Seahawks left the bases loaded.
Amanda Riley doubled to open the Salve seventh, but County recorded the next three outs to get the win. She allowed nine hits and one run with five strikeouts and no walks in seven innings.
Salve Regina out-hit Tufts 9-5, with eight different players appearing in the hit column. Parry was the losing pitcher.