Two-out rally sends Tufts to 4-0 victory vs. Rowan for regional championship
BABSON PARK, Mass. -- Emily Beinecke and Bri Keenan each had two hits and sparked a four-run third inning by combining to drive in three runs as top-seeded Tufts claimed the Babson Park Regional title with a 4-1 win against second-seeded Rowan on Monday at Alumni Field.
With its 15th consecutive victory, Tufts moves to 42-3 on the season and will be making its second consecutive NCAA Division III championship appearance, and the fourth in program history. The seventh-ranked Jumbos will take on No. 5 Texas-Tyler (44-4) at 5 p.m. ET Friday in Eau Claire, Wis., at Carson Park.
Rowan, which was playing in its second consecutive regional championship game, finished the year at 41-9.
The Jumbos, who recorded 10 hits against Rown, averaged 8.3 runs in their four regional games and broke the title game open with a big third inning. After putting together just a pair of singles in the first 2.2 innings, Tufts registered four consecutive two-out hits to chase Profs starter Krysti Maronski and take command of the contest.
After Jo Clair was issued an intentional walk with two outs, putting runners on first and second, Beinecke drove home Christina Raso, who had singled to start the inning, for a 1-0 lead. Keenan followed with a single through the right side to plate Clair and Beinecke for a 3-0 advantage, and Kris Parr's single up the middle chased Maronski from the game. Gracie Marshall greeted Rowan's LeAnne Miller with an RBI single to right field to score Keenan, giving the Jumbos a 4-0 bulge.
The lead was more than enough for Allyson Fournier, who carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, and allowed just a solo home run to Alysa Romero to start the fifth and an infield single to Maronski in the seventh. Named as the Babson Park Regional Most Outstanding Player, Fournier struck out 14 and walked just one to move to 21-1 on the year. In four appearances during the regional she allowed just four earned runs and 10 hits in 23 innings while striking out 41 batters and walking just two.
Maronski, who picked up a pair of wins at the regional, kept Tufts off balance early, but didn't make it out of the third inning, allowing four runs on five hits to go along with two strikeouts and two walks in falling to 14-3 on the season. Miller gave up five hits and struck out two during the final 3.1 innings for the Profs, who tied the program record with 41 wins on the year.
Joining Fournier on the all-regional team from Tufts were Clair, who hit .467 (7-for-15) with two home runs, two doubles and a regional-high seven runs batted in, Keenan, Beinecke, Marshall and Sara Hedtler.
Rowan had five players make the all-tournament team, including Romero and Jennifer Arcella, who combined for six extra-base hits (four home runs) and seven runs batted in, and Shilah Snead, Maronski and Miller.
Other players named to the all-tournament team were Jenna Webb of Springfield, who led the regional with a .615 average (8-for-13) along with two runs scored and one RBI, and Kathleen Conway of Babson.
Tufts has won eight consecutive NCAA regional games but are 3-6 in their three previous NCAA finals appearances. The Jumbos went 1-2 in last year's championship.