TYLER, Texas -- Junior Allyson Fournier pitched a six-hit shutout and sophomore SS Christina Raso drove home three runs as Tufts won its second consecutive NCAA championship with a 6-0 victory against Salisbury.
The Jumbos (47-4) become the first NCAA Division III softball team to win back-to-back titles since St. Thomas (Minn.) did it in 2004-05. In the best two-out-of-three series to determine the 2014 NCAA champion, head coach Cheryl Milligan's Jumbos had lost 2-1 in Game 1 on Monday. However, they rallied to win two consecutive to capture the title including a dramatic 14-inning, 6-0 victory in Game 2 on Monday.
"It's amazing," Milligan said. "We lost [Monday] and it had been a long time since our last loss. We didn't feel too hot, but we pulled Game 2 out in the wee hours [Monday] night. Then to come back [Tuesday] on fire, really ready to go is a testament to this team's spirit and their drive and how hard they worked for this."Fournier, who shared most outstanding player honors with senior catcher Jo Clair, pitched 24 consecutive shutout innings in the championship series against the Sea Gulls. The stretch began in the fifth inning of Game 1, went through all 14 innings of Game 2 and finished with Tuesday's shutout. She struck out five and walked one in the championship game while improving her final season record to 28-1.
"Whenever I get the ball I just go out there and do the best that I can, try to get every batter and take it pitch by pitch," Fournier said. "It's just an honor to be able to play at this stage against such great competition, but to win two years in a row is an unreal feeling."
Raso, the NESCAC defensive player of the year, led with her bat in the championship game by driving home runs in two separate innings as the Jumbos built their lead. Senior LF Sara Hedtler also concluded an excellent series by going 2-for-4 with an RBI in Tuesday's game. Junior CF Michelle Cooprider scored twice while finishing the game 3-for-4.
The win gave the 2014 Tufts team a school record for victories in a season with 47. Tufts was making its third consecutive appearance in the NCAA finals. They won the title in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, last season with a 6-5 win against Cortland State. With their 5-1 record in Texas since Thursday to win the title, Tufts now has 47-25 all-time record in NCAA play.
This was their 14th NCAA appearance overall. They became the seventh NCAA Division III program to win multiple NCAA titles, and the second from New England. They are just the third team to win back-to-back titles.