WILLIAMSTOWN - Junior CF Michelle Cooprider homered for the second straight game, this time a three-run shot that lifted the Tufts softball team to a 4-2 victory over host Williams College in the winner's bracket of the NCAA Regional Saturday.
Tufts (39-3) moves into the Regional final to be played tomorrow at 12 noon. Their opponent will have to defeat them twice, with an if necessary game to be played shortly following the completion of the first game.
Williams (25-12) will play later today at 4 pm against the loser of the 1:30 pm elimination game between Endicott and Lesley.
The Jumbos stranded six runners on base against Williams first-year starter Brooke Bovier before coming through in the fourth. With first-year RF Carrie Copacino and junior SS Christina Raso on base, Cooprider homered to center field for a 3-0 Tufts lead.
Tufts starter Allyson Fournier was perfect through the first three innings. However, the Ephs would close within 3-2 on a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth. Fournier surrended a lead-off double to first-year SS Alison Michalik, which was followed by a Jumbo error on a ground ball by sophomore LF Erica Li. A second Tufts effor scored Li. With the two runs in, the Ephs still had a runner on second with one out but Fournier prevented further damage.
Junior 2B Gracie Marshall walked and stole second to start the Tufts fifth. She eventually scored on a ground out by Copacino pushing the Jumbo margin to 4-2.
After a 1-2-3 fifth by Fournier, Williams threatened again with runners on first and second with one out in the sixth. Michalik singled and senior CF Ali Graebner was hit by a pitch. However, Fournier again got the two outs she needed and it was 4-2 Tufts heading to the seventh.
Eph first-year pinch-hitter Ashley Wirth singled with two outs in the seventh and took second on a third Tufts error. Fournier induced a ground ball for the game's final out.
The win improved Fournier to 20-0 this season as she allowed three hits and two runs (none earned) with nine strikeouts and no walks in seven innings.
Michalik had two of Williams' three hits at the top of the line-up. Bovier took the loss, allowing six hits and four runs with two strikeouts and seven walks in seven innings.