Softball Wins NESCAC Tournament Opener Against Middlebury 2-0

MEDFORD – Sophomores Kristina Haghdan and Kristi Van Meter combined on a three-hit shutout as the Tufts University softball team opened NESCAC Tournament play with a 2-0 win over Middlebury College on Friday afternoon at Spicer Field.

Pitcher Kristi Van Meter retired all eight batters she faced in the game.

Tufts (28-8) is hosting the tournament after winning the NESCAC East Division title. The Jumbos will play next in Game 5 of the conference tournament (semifinals) on Saturday. They will face the winner of Game 3 between Hamilton and Trinity which is scheduled for earlier Saturday. The winner of Game 5 will advance to the conference championship game.

Middlebury, the fourth seed from the West Division, saw its season end Friday with a 12-19 record.

Saturday's schedule for the NESCAC Championship has been adjusted due to rain expected on Sunday. Game 2 between Williams and Bates which was suspended due to darkness on Friday will resume at 8:30 am Saturday. Game 3 will start 20 minutes after the conclusion of Game 2, but no earlier than 9:15 am. Subsequent game times will follow two hours apart - 11:15 am; 1:15 pm; 3:15 pm; 5:15 as the remainder of the tournament will be played on Saturday, if possible.

Haghdan allowed just one hit during the first four innings against Middlebury, a tapper out in between the plate and the circle that Panther freshman LF Jen McGann beat out with two down in the second inning.

Tufts had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third when junior CF Maggie Lebinski tripled to center field and scored on a two-out single by sophomore SS Mia Steinberg.

Singles by junior SS Olivia Bravo and sophomore 1B Emily Moore helped Middlebury load the bases with one out against Haghdan in the fifth inning. The inning had been interuprted by a nearly two-hour rain delay and Moore's single when the game resumed loaded the bases. The Jumbos brought on Van Meter and she retired the next two hitters on a force-out at home and a pop-up to end the threat.

Junior 3B Jamie Stevens added an insurance run for the Jumbos with a solo home run (her sixth) in the bottom of the sixth.

Haghdan earned her 11th win going 4.1 innings allowing the three hits and no runs with three strikeouts and four walks. Van Meter retired all eight batters she faced for her third save. Stevens and senior Kristen Caporelli both had a pair of hits for Tufts.

Senior Irene Margiotta had complete-game start for Middlebury. She went six innings allowing nine hits and the two runs with no walks and three K's. Bravo was on base twice with a hit and a walk.