No. 1 Tufts Sweeps No. 18 Wheaton

No. 1 Tufts Sweeps No. 18 Wheaton

Jumbos remain perfect on the season (38-0), extend winning streak to 40 games

NORTON, Mass. – The Wheaton College softball team, ranked No. 18 in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Top-25 poll, dropped a pair of games to No. 1 nationally ranked and two-time defending NCAA Division III champions Tufts University on Sunday afternoon at Clark Field.

Tufts 10, Wheaton 0 (Game One, 5 inn.)

Senior Allyson Fournier (South Windsor, Conn./East Catholic) improved to 22-0 on the season with a complete-game effort in the circle alongside one hit, a walk, and a game-high 11 strikeouts.

Wheaton senior starter Emily Berardi (Boston, Mass./Boston Latin) was tagged with the loss on 1 1/3 innings pitched, four hits, five runs (all earned), and one walk.

The Jumbos took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as senior Michelle Cooprider (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) launched a solo home run to left field, her second of the spring.

Tufts went on to score six runs in the second inning, which was highlighted by a three-run homer by junior Christina Raso (Burlington, Mass./Burlington).

In the fifth, the Jumbos added three more runs on a sharply hit double up the middle by Cassie Ruscz (Wolcott, Conn./Taft) that reached the center field fence and cleared the bases.

 Fournier gave up a leadoff hit in the bottom of the fifth but used a strike out and foul pop up to the shortstop before Wheaton had a runner thrown out at second on a stolen base attempt to lock up the victory in game one.

Tufts 8, Wheaton 5 (Game Two)

Junior Erica County (Arlington, Mass./Arlington) pushed her record to 15-0 throwing seven innings, while yielding seven hits, five runs (four earned), and three walks to go with two strikeouts.

Senior Noelle Christmas (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth South) was dealt her first loss of the season (7-0) on 6 1/3 innings pitched, 11 hits, eight runs (seven earned), two walks and a strikeout. First-year Allison Cox (Torrance, Calif./West Torrance) recorded the final two outs for the Lyons inducing a pair of pop ups.

Ruscz gave Tufts a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a towering two-run home run that just missed hitting the left field foul pole. First-year Raven Fournier (Springfield, Mass./Chicopee) followed with an opposite field home run to right in the next at-bat for the Jumbos to extend their advantage to 3-0. Ruscz paces Tufts in home runs with ten, while R. Fournier ranks second with six.

Wheaton sophomore Caroline Fairbanks (Milford, Mass./Milford) got a run right back for the hosts in the second inning with a no-doubter home run to left field, her team-leading tenth round-tripper of the season.

Tufts answered with three runs in the fourth inning as first-year Samantha Siciliano (Chatsworth, Calif./Buckley School) notched an RBI single to center, while two more runs came across home plate later in the frame on a fielding error.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Lyons cut their deficit to 6-5 on a wild play with two outs and the bases loaded. Junior Emma Hart (Lincoln, R.I./Lincoln) plated two runners with a hard-hit single through the left side of the infield for a 6-3 score.

Hart and sophomore Mary DeMoura (Boston, Mass./Boston Latin) then moved up to second and third base, respectively, on a fielding error in center before both runners scored on a heads-up base running play by DeMoura. With the softball not completely in the circle yet, DeMoura took off for home and stole it cleanly before Hart raced home as well on a throwing error.

Both teams were held scoreless until the top of the seventh inning when R. Fournier roped a two-run single up the middle to make it 8-5.

In the bottom half, County set down Wheaton's 4-5-6 hitters in order to complete the sweep.

Wheaton (28-6) will host day one of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Softball Tournament on Tuesday, April 28 at 2:30 p.m. The Lyons will play the winner of No. 5 Wellesley and No. 4 Springfield at 4:30 p.m. Tufts (38-0) hosts Middlebury in its conference tournament on Friday, May 1 at 2:30 p.m.

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