HARTFORD, Conn. – Sophomore Nicole Towner went 3-for-7 at the plate and knocked in six runs during a pair of victories on Saturday for the Trinity College (Conn.) softball team over Tufts University, as the Bantams picked up a three-game sweep of the Jumbos on Friday and Saturday in Hartford, Connecticut.
|Annika Han posted three hits and scored two runs for the Jumbos Saturday.|
In second-game action Saturday, the Bantams raced out to a 4-0 lead in the second, and then the Jumbos responded with three unanswered runs. The Bantams stemmed the tide with a two-run sixth during a 6-3 win.
During the first game, the Bantams exploded for a four-run fourth inning and received a complete-game victory by freshman pitcher Lindsay Golia, as the hosts withstood three unanswered runs by the Jumbos in the fifth and sixth to claim a 6-5 victory.
The Bantams' (17-9, 7-2 in NESCAC East Division) three-win weekend has allowed the squad to leapfrog the Jumbos in the NESCAC Conference East Division standings and climb into second place. Bowdoin (21-6, 5-1) sits in first place in the division, while the Jumbos (14-9, 4-3) check in at the No. 3 slot.
Senior captain Cassie Ruscz belted two home runs Saturday, as she now has a conference-leading nine blasts. She additionally went 3-for-7 at the plate, to go along with four RBIs and two runs scored. Freshman center fielder Annika Han (3-for-8, three singles, two runs scored) and sophomore shortstop Christian Cain (3-for-6, two singles, double) also starred.
Junior Michelle Treglia performed tremendously for the hosts on Saturday, nailing a two-run shot during Game 1, while going 3-for-6 in the box, along with three RBIs and three runs scored.
The Bantams took an early 2-0 lead during Game 2, with junior Erica Merullo and Treglia crossing home plate in the first, and then the hosts extended their lead to 4-0 in the second on back-to-back RBI singles by Treglia and Towner.
The Jumbos trimmed the deficit to 4-1 in the third behind an RBI single by Ruscz, allowing senior captain Carrie Copacino to score. Ruscz was back at it in the fifth, as Han posted a one-out single, and then the senior power hitter blasted a two-run shot with two down, bringing the Jumbos to within 4-3.
Towner put a needle in the Jumbos' comeback attempt, drilling a one-out, two-run double to center in the sixth, scoring freshmen Lindsay Pressman and Nikki Andersen.
Junior pitcher Rachael Smith (8-4) earned the win on the mound for the hosts, giving up three runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. Golia collected her third save, pitching the final 2 1/3 innings, giving up only one hit and retiring the side in order during the seventh.
Freshman pitcher Gillian O'Connor (5-3) was tagged with the loss, relinquishing eight hits and four runs, with two earned.
In the first game, the score was even at 2-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth, and then Andersen played a little bit of small ball for the hosts, driving a sacrifice fly to center field with runners at the corners, which scored junior Meaghan Race and gave the Bantams the lead for good at 3-2.
Three batters later, Towner slammed a game-changing, three-run double with the bases juiced, giving the Bantams a four-run safety net at 6-2.
Ruscz did not waste any time cutting into the deficit, drilling a leadoff solo shot in the fifth, as she brought the squad to within 6-3.
The Jumbos continued rallying in the sixth, with junior pitcher Raina Galbiati connecting on a one-out double. Golia forced Copacino to ground out, as freshman pinch runner Maggie Lebinski advanced to third. Junior second baseman Samantha Siciliano (3-for-4, two singles, double, two runs scored, RBI) came through once again during a high-pressure at-bat with the Jumbos staring at a three-run deficit and only four outs left to work with, as the junior standout clocked an RBI double, plating Lebinski.
Three batters later, junior catcher Raven Fournier was hit with the bases loaded, allowing Siciliano to trot in from the third, as the Jumbos were within one at 6-5. Golia was in a high-stress situation with the tying run at third and go-ahead tally at second, but she forced senior right fielder Maggie Hoffman to fly out to center.
Galbiati sent the Jumbos' offense back on the field quickly, retiring the side in order during the bottom of the frame. Golia sealed the deal in the seventh, not allowing a Jumbo to get past first base.
An RBI single by Fournier opened the scoring in the first, and then Han crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly by Hoffman, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead. The Bantams evened the score behind a two-run blast by Treglia in bottom of the frame.
Golia (9-4), who earned the victory on Friday with four scoreless innings of relief, forced the Jumbos to leave 10 runners on base, while giving up 11 hits, three walks and five runs, with four earned.
Freshman starting pitcher Allison Tilton (3-6) was charged with the loss, pitching 3 2/3 innings, as the Jupiter, Florida, native was responsible for six runs, four walks and three hits. Galbiati was solid in relief, only giving up two hits in 2 1/3 innings and striking out two batters.
The Jumbos will compete in a doubleheader on Monday at Williams (18-9, 5-0 in NESCAC West Division), with the first game starting at 3 p.m. in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Written by Trevor Wenners, Athletic Communications Intern