BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Tufts completed a two-game sweep of host Bridgewater State with an 8-0 victory in Game 2 of the 2014 NCAA Division III Softball Super Regional on Friday afternoon.
With the sweep, the defending national champion Jumbos (42-3) punched their ticket to eight-team final in Tyler, Texas. The double-elimination national championship tournament gets underway next Thursday. Tufts will take on the winner of the Marshall, Texas Super Regional at 5 p.m. ET Thursday. The Jumbos will be competing in the NCAA finals for the third consecutive year and for the fourth time in the past six seasons.
Junior Allyson Fournier garnered most outstanding pitcher accolades of the Super Regional for the Jumbos while third baseman Bri Keenan was chosen as the most outstanding player. Fournier did not allow run in 12 innings and struck out 24 batters. She gave up just three hits in the two games. Keenan went 4 for 6 at the plate in the two games with two doubles, a triple and two runs batted in. She drove in both runs during the 2-0 win in Game 1.
Fournier (23-0) worked the first five innings of Friday's game and left with the Jumbos leading 8-0. She allowed just one hit, fanned nine and walked one. Fournier lowered her NCAA Division III leading earned run average to 0.40.
With the game scoreless after four innings of play, the Tufts' bats went to work as the Jumbos scored five times in the fifth and added three more runs in the sixth to pull away for the victory.
Tufts threatened in the second when Cassie Ruscz led off the frame with a base hit and, one out later, moved to third on Keenan's double. However, BSU hurler Amber White induced a fielder's choice ground out to cut down Ruscz in a rundown off third, and then ended the threat with a big strikeout.
In the third, White worked around a leadoff double by Christina Raso as she retired the next three batters on a pair of fly outs and a week ground ball back to the circle. Bridgewater's only scoring threat came in the fourth inning with two outs when the Bears put runners on first and second on a sharp single by Tara McCann followed by a walk to Samantha LoPilato. Fournier ended the potential rally with a strikeout.
The Jumbos exploded for five runs in the fifth to put the game out of reach. Chrissie Massrey led off the frame with a misjudged double to left. Raso looped a tripled down the right field line to plate Massrey and, one out later, scored on a fielder's choice grounder to short. Jo Clair then launched a two-run homer to straightaway centerfield to make it 4-0. Horowitz capped off the frame with a solo blast over the left field fence. For Clair, the homer marked her 20th of the season, while Horowitz connected for her first.
Tufts pushed across three more runs in the sixth on a bases loaded walk to Sara Hedtler, a sacrifice fly off the bat of Clair and a Ruscz RBI single.
Lauren Giglio worked a scoreless sixth to finish off the shutout as the game was stopped after six innings due to the eight-run mercy rule.
White went 5.1 innings in the circle for the Bears as she gave up five runs on nine hits with a pair of strikeouts. Corrie McCue pitched two-thirds of an inning of relief allowing three runs on two hits and two walks.
Ruscz and Raso led the Jumbos' 11-hit attack as they each banged out three hits. Ruscz went 3 for 4 with an RBI, while Raso went 3 for 3 with a double, triple, two runs and an RBI. Clair (1 for 3) finished with three RBI.
Jill Welch and Tara McCann each singled in three at bats to account for the Bears' only two hits of the game.
Bridgewater ends the season with an overall record of 32-14. Champions of the Wellesley Regional, the Bears finished with 30 or more wins for the first time since 2001 (34-12-1).