Tufts' bats awaken in do-or-die game
Jumbos rack up 11 hits en route to knocking out Plattsburgh St.
SALEM, Va. -- Tufts stayed alive at the 2012 Division III Softball Championship with a 7-1 victory against Plattsburgh State in an elimination game on Saturday afternoon at the Moyer Complex. Held to one hit in a 1-0 loss against Roanoke to open NCAA finals play on Friday night, the Jumbos had 11 hits against Plattsburgh.
Allyson Fournier went all seven innings for the Jumbos and improved to 23-2 on the season. She allowed five hits and one run with 10 strikeouts and no walks. She has 24 strikeouts in 14 innings at the finals.
The Jumbos struck quickly on offense today against Plattsburgh starter Heather Loughran. With two outs in the first, Jo Clair doubled to left-center when the fielders let the ball drop between them. Emily Beinecke followed with a single to center, scoring Clair on a close play at the plate for the first Jumbo run of the tournament. Beinecke took second on the throw and scored when Kris Parr lined another single to center.
When Tufts' Lizzy Iuppa singled over second base with one out in the second, Plattsburgh brought on ace Ashley Marshall. She settled things down nicely, holding the score at 2-0 though the fourth.
Meanwhile, Fournier got the Cardinals 1-2-3 in the first, but Plattsburgh had runners in the next two innings. In the second, Michelle Iannone led off with a single to left. Pinch-runner Kayla Rabideau was sacrificed to second, but was stranded when Fournier got a strike out and a pop up to end the inning. In the third, Plattsburgh's Dana Mandery was hit by a pitch to lead-off, but was thrown out stealing by Clair. Brittany Marshall stung a single through the right side for the Cardinals' second hit, but a Fournier strikeout finished the frame.
Both teams went 1-2-3 in the fourth, with two more strikeouts for Fournier. The Jumbo bats broke it open in the top of the fifth. They loaded the bases with no outs on when Iuppa beat out a slap-single to shortstop and then Mira Lieman-Sifry and Sara Hedtler both used their speed to reach on bunts.
Lena Cantone then drove a double to left-center that scored two for a 4-0 Jumbo lead. A Clair ground-out to short brought home Hedtler for a 5-0 margin. The Jumbos attempted to squeeze home Cantone from third, but Plattsburgh pitcher Ashley Marshall and catcher Erin Florkiewicz combined to get the out.
The Cardinals put their first two runners on base in the fifth with a hit by pitch and single by Katie McNally, but the threat was quelled when Iuppa made a nice running catch of a line drive in center and threw to second for a double play.
The Cardinals broke up Fournier's bid for a 13th shutout this spring in the bottom of the sixth. Allison Smiddy doubled to left-center with one out and then came around to score on a two-out single to right by Iannone.
Tufts added to their lead with two more in the top of the seventh. Hedtler led off with a slap single to short. Cantone doubled again over the center fielder's head for her 16th of the year to tie Tufts' single-season record. Clair had her second RBI of the day and 57th of the season with a deep sacrifice fly to left, and Beinecke followed with a single down the third base line to plate another and put Tufts up 7-1.
Fournier added two more strikeouts while setting down the side in the seventh to give Tufts the win.