MEDFORD, Mass. – New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) champion Wellesley College softball opened the 2015 NCAA Tournament Medford Regional on Friday afternoon at Spicer Field, dropping a 3-1 decision to No. 1 Tufts University. The Jumbos improve to 42-0 on the season. Wellesley is now 22-15 overall and is now 8-7 all-time in NCAA Tournament games.
The Blue will play Elms College (20-13) tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 PM in the weekend's first elimination game. The winner will advance to play at 4:00 PM vs. the winner of Saturday's 11:00 AM game between Tufts and MIT (28-8). MIT defeated Elms College 8-0 in six innings in game one on Friday.
Both teams were unable to take advantage of baserunners in the first two innings. Wellesley spoiled an opportunity to capitalize on a Tufts error in the first before leaving two runners on in the top of the second following back-to-back singles from Astyn Coleman (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Anna Pisac (Snohomish, Wa.) to open the inning. The Jumbos also had runners reach in each of the first two innings, as Michelle Cooprider (Hopkinton, Mass.) singled to leadoff the game and Raven Fournier (Springfield, Mass.) doubled to leadoff the second inning, but were unable to score a run.
Wellesley took the lead in the top of the 3rd inning, scoring one run on two hits to take 1-0 advantage. First year Amanda Manning (Durham, Claif.) opened the inning with an infield single, making her way to second when junior Carly Bresee (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) grounded out to the pitcher. A failed bunt attempt from the Blue left Manning on second with two outs before senior Maria LaBouyer (Yuba City, Calif.) drove in the game's first run with a single down the right field line.
Wellesley's run in the top of the third inning snapped Tufts senior Allyson Fournier's (South Windsor, Conn.) NCAA all-time consecutive scoreless innings streak at 105.1 innings. Fournier pitching a complete game for the Jumbos, improving to 26-0, striking out eight while yielding just four hits. Wellesley first-year Madeline Bianchi (Lakeville, Minn) surrendered eight hits and three runs with five strikeouts and three walks over six innings. The Jumbos had the lead-off batter on base in every inning, but left eight runners on base as Bianchi often worked out of trouble.
The Blue advantage was short-lived, as the hosts countered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. Bri Keenan (Portsmouth, N.H.) opened the frame with a walk, before being replaced at first by Cooprider on a fielder's choice. Cooprider then made her way to third on an error, as an errant throw to second allowed Carrie Copacino (Newton, Mass.) to reach first base. Christina Raso (Burlington, Mass.) then lifted a sacrifice fly into centerfield to score Cooprider.
Tufts took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Raso picked up her second RBI of the afternoon, singling up the middle to score Copacino after the sophomore had reached on a single to start the inning.
The Jumbos then added insurance in the bottom of the sixth, tacking on one run to take a 3-1 advantage. Gracie Marshall (Palo Alto, Calif.) singled to start the inning before Keenan reached on a one-out walk. Marshall and Keenan then stole second and third. Marshall would come around to score on an RBI single from Copacino, however, Pisac cut down Keenan at the plate on the same play to limit the damage and record the final out of the inning.
Wellesley was unable to take advantage in the top of the seventh, as Fournier closed out the game with back-to-back strikeouts after Marshall robbed Pisac with a diving catch on a sinking line drive for the inning's first out.