CAMBRIDGE – Junior Ravenne Nasser pitched a two-hit shutout leading the MIT softball team to the NCAA Regional Championship title with a 7-0 victory over Tufts University on Monday.
Tufts (32-10) had defeated MIT 2-1 earlier in the day to force a seventh and decisive game at the Regional hosted by the Engineers at Briggs Field. Nasser was the star of the second game, while senior Jasmine Joseph and sophomore Devon Goetz both had two rbis for MIT. The Engineers (36-8-1) advance to the NCAA Super Regional next weekend against Williams College.
Tufts was playing as the home team at MIT's field. The Engineers saw a good chance to score right away go by the board in the first. With runners on second and third and one out, Sarah Von Ahn attempted a suicide squeeze. However, the bunt didn't get far away from the plate and Jumbo catcher Sarah Finnigan scooped it up and tagged out Goetz trying to score. The Jumbos then got the third out on a 3-1-4 play as a ball hit by Madi Pickett short-hopped Raven Fournier at first, but went right to pitcher Kristina Hagdhan who threw her out in a close play.
The Jumbos put two on in their first, including a one-out single by Raven Fournier. Nasser got a pair of ground balls to end the threat.
In the top of the second, MIT would score more runs than either team had scored in the two previous games played beween the squads at the Regional (both 2-1 finals). The Engineers loaded the bases on walks with two outs and all three runs scored when Goetz lined a double to right-center. The hit scored Michelle Wist and Sierra Rosenzwieg, then Joseph scored when Tufts tried to make a play on Goetz advancing to second and the throw was off.
Tufts went to freshman pitcher Kristi Van Meter in the third and she got a 1-2-3 inning. Neither team did anything offensively in the third and fourth.
Both teams made good defensive plays in the fifth. Jumbo freshman CF Edie Huling made a nice running catch into left-center for the first out in the MIT fifth. MIT second baseman Amanda Lee grabbed a ball hit by Reegan Coleman into shallow right field that looked like it was going to be a bloop single.
Two Tufts errors in the MIT sixth led to four insurance runs for the Engineers. Von Ahn reached by error to lead off and Pickett followed with a bunt single. Katie Shade dropped down another bunt and the Jumbos could not convert the out at first allowing Von Ahn to score. Pinch hitter Erika Anderson delivered an infield single scoring Pickett and Joseph crowned the inning with a two-run single to center. Suddenly it was 7-0.
In the Tufts sixth Siciliano walked to lead off and Fournier had her second hit, dropping a single into left with one out. However, the Jumbos weren't able to expand on that and Nasser pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to win it.
MIT moves on to the Super Regional for the second time in three seasons. Nasser won her 20th game of the year for the Engineers, striking out four and walking two. MIT had six hits and worked five walks.
Haghdan took the loss for the Jumbos. Van Meter worked four innings and Raina Galbiati finished up in the seventh.
Nasser was voted the Regional's Most Outstanding Player. She was joined on the All-Tournament team by MIT's Colleen Campbell, Joseph and Goetz. Van Meter, Haghdan, Finnigan and Fournier were selected from Tufts. Gigi Braga from UMass Boston and Dayna Marchant of Framingham State were also named.