|Senior SS Mira Lieman-Sifry was 2 for 3 with two rbi and a run
MANSFIELD, CT – The Tufts softball team overcame a rough start to post a 10-5 victory against Salem State University on Thursday night at the NCAA Div. III Regional hosted by Eastern Connecticut State University. Senior 1B Lena Cantone (Southington, CT) went 4 for 4 with four rbis to lead the Jumbos.
Tufts (37-5) advances in the winner's bracket and will face Saint John Fisher (34-12) on Friday at 6:30 pm. Salem State (33-13) drops into the loser's bracket and will play Rochester (28-14) on Friday at 2 pm.
Seventh-seed Salem put four on the board in the top of the first. Senior SS Michelle Grifoni bounced a single up the middle to lead it off against Tufts junior starter Lauren Giglio (Niskayuna, NY). A walk and a hit by pitch loaded the bases, and then first-year 1B Jenn Toussaint delivered a two-run single through the left side.
Jumbo first-year Allyson Fournier (South Windsor, CT), named NESCAC Pitcher and Rookie of the Year earlier in the day, came on in relief. She would get three strikeouts, but the Vikings were able to add two more runs on a double-steal and a Jumbo error.
Tufts cut the margin in half in the bottom of the first. Senior CF Lizzy Iuppa (Paramus, NJ) hit a one-out single and took second on an error. Sophomore C Jo Clair (Glastonbury, CT) walked and a wild pitch moved both runners up. Cantone and junior 2B Emily Beinecke (Concord, MA) then hit back-to-back singles to bring home runs making it 4-2.
Tufts surged ahead 5-4 with three runs in the bottom of the second. First-year RF Gracie Marshall (Palo Alto, CA) walked and senior SS Mira Lieman-Sifry (Hastings-on-Hudson, NH) singled to set the table. Clair roped a double over the right fielder's head to score Marshall and Lieman-Sifry, then Cantone followed with a single up the middle to score Clair.
The Jumbos added an unearned run in the bottom of the third to lead 6-4. Junior DP Kayla Holland (Attleboro, MA) hit a one-out single through left side. She took second on bad pick-off attempt by the catcher and went to third when Marshall dropped a single into left. Lieman-Sifry got the rbi with a sacrifice fly on a nice running catch by Salem CF Sarra Bergeron.
Cantone was at the center of another Tufts run in bottom of fourth. She tripled to left and scored when Beinecke's liner to left was misplayed, putting Tufts ahead 7-4.
Meanwhile, Salem was unable to mount much of an attack against Fournier. She would allow just two hits and no walks with 13 strikeouts in seven innings while improving to 19-1 overall. Iuppa helped her in the top of the fifth with a nice running catch in the left-center gap on Grifoni.
Tufts would go on to score in every inning. In the bottom of fifth, singles by sophomore LF Sara Hedtler (Wrentham, MA) and Iuppa preceded a two-run double to left by Cantone that gave Tufts a 9-4 advantage. After Salem scored on a single, two stolen bases and a Tufts error in the top of the sixth, the Jumbos finished the scoring in the bottom of the inning when Holland double to the right-center gap, took third on a fly out and scored on Lieman-Sifry's single.
The Jumbos finished with 15 hits. In addition to Cantone's four, Hedtler, Iuppa, Holland and Lieman-Sifry all had two apiece.
Toussaint was 2 for 3 with two rbi and a run for Salem. The Vikings finished with four hits. Bryan took the pitching loss, allowing 12 hits and seven runs (six earned) in five innings.