Fords take first-ever meeting between the two squads
MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The Wheaton College softball team dropped a 6-2 decision to Haverford College on Friday afternoon in game one of the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament (Montclair Regional) on the campus of Montclair State University (MSU) at the MSU Softball Stadium.
The Fords (28-9) will now take on the winner of Montclair State (36-6) and Farmingdale State (23-12) tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. The Lyons (30-11) will play the loser of today's second game tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. The winner of the four-team, double-elimination format will advance to the new Super Regional format, a best-of-3 series, set for May 16-17. Super Regional winners advance to the NCAA Division III Softball Championship in Tyler, Texas May 22-27.
Haverford sophomore starter Sara Tauriello (Elma, N.Y./Iroquois) improved to 11-1 on the season going five innings while yielding six hits, zero runs and two walks alongside four strikeouts. Classmate Emily Winesett (St. Petersburg, Fla./Canterbury School of Florida) completed the final two innings on two hits, two runs (all earned), no walks and one punchout.
Wheaton senior Allison Baker (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional) took the loss (14-6) on three innings, three hits, four runs (all unearned), one walk and three strikeouts. Junior Noelle Christmas (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth South) went four innings, allowed six hits, two runs (both earned), issued two walks and struck out four hitters.
The Fords struck for four runs in the top of the third inning as junior Dayle Comerford (Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West) highlighted the frame with a bases clearing, two-out double to the left-center gap. Haverford's first run of the inning came across on a fielding error with two outs rendering all runs charged to Baker unearned in the frame.
In the bottom of the sixth, Wheaton cut the deficit in half at 4-2 on a two-run, two-out double to left-center field by senior Ashley Brillon (Attleboro, Mass./Bishop Feehan). Sophomore Erin Deneen (Framingham, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury) led off the frame with a single up the middle and reached second base safely on a fielder's choice from junior Emily Berardi (Boston, Mass./Boston Latin). After a lineout to short, freshman Rebecca Seifert (Franklin, Mass./Franklin) advanced both runners into scoring position with a groundout to second setting up the RBI opportunity.
Haverford sophomore Kristin Tatum (Salt Lake City, Utah/Skyline) reclaimed the Fords' four-run advantage in the next half inning with a two-run home run to right-center field, her third of the season, plating classmate Miwa Wenzel (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown) who pinch-ran for Comerford after she notched a one-out single to center.
The Lyons had their chances early in the contest putting runners at first and second with no outs in the first inning and runners on first and third with two outs in the second. Tauriello worked out of her first inning jam with a force out at third base, foul out and a strikeout swinging, while she also induced a pop up to second base in the second inning to keep Wheaton off the scoreboard.
Brillon finished the contest going 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI and Deneen went 2-for-3 with a run scored for the Lyons only other multi-hit game on the afternoon.
In NCAA postseason play, Wheaton is 23-17 overall in its eight-year history in the tournament (1997-1999, 2001-2004, 2014). Haverford earned its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory today and also pushed its school record mark for wins in a season to 28.