2016 NESCAC Softball Tournament
Friday, May 6 through Sunday May 8
ALL GAMES WILL BE WEBCAST
CLICK THIS LINK TO WATCH
Williams 10, Trinity 2, 5 innings
Tufts 5, Amherst 3, (completion of suspended game)
Amherst 4, Trinity 3
2 P.M. (approximate)
Williams 17, Tufts 4, 5 innings
4:15 P.M. (approximate)
Tufts 3, Amherst 1
Tufts 13, Williams 6
BOX SCORE • GAME STORY • PHOTOS
Williams 8, Tufts 3
BOX SCORE * GAME STORY * PHOTOS
HADLEY, Mass. - Williams welcomes Amherst, Trinity and Tufts to Cole Field in Williamstown, Mass. for the 2016 NESCAC Softball Championship. The three-day championship begins with a pair of games on Friday, May 6, and concludes on Sunday, May 8. Action gets underway on Friday with Williams squaring off against Trinity at 2:30 p.m. Tufts and Amherst meet in the day's second game at 5 p.m.
Game 1 between Williams (29-8, 10-2 NESCAC West) and Trinity (18-12, 6-6 NESCAC East) marks the first time that the programs have faced each other in the postseason since 2011 when the Ephs prevailed, 7-5. In the all-time postseason series, Williams owns a slim 3-2 edge over the Bantams. The Ephs, who have posted back-to-back runner-up finishes, aim to hoist their first NESCAC trophy since 2006 when they capped off a stretch of three consecutive titles. First-year Mackenzie Murphy(Diablo, Calif.) has burst onto the collegiate scene, leading the team with a .425 batting average, a .795 slugging percentage, six home runs, and 27 RBIs. In the circle, she has posted a record of 12-3 with a league-best 2.07 ERA to go along with 72 strikeouts over 88 innings. Senior Erica Li (Salt Lake City, Utah) provides a spark at the top of the lineup as the only player on the squad to play1 in all 37 games. She has a NESCAC-high 56 hits, is tied for the league lead with 37 runs scored and ranks second with 80 total bases. Five other players in the everyday lineup are batting over .300 to help the Ephs rank third in the conference with a .333 batting average. Joining Murphy on the pitching staff is junior Brooke Bovier (Port Orange, Fla.) and first-year Alejandra Magana (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.). Bovier is 8-2 with a 3.57 ERA over 98 innings, while Magana is 8-3 with a 2.64 ERA in 55.2 innings of work.
Trinity is making its first NESCAC Championship appearance since 2011 and sixth appearance overall as it looks for its first conference title. The Bantams' success starts in the circle, as the team boasts the league's lowest ERA at 2.68. Sophomore hurlers Rachael Smith (Winchester, Mass.) and Cassia Armstrong (White Rock, British Columbia) provide a dual threat, and have combined to pitch all but 20 innings this season. Smith boasts a 2.47 ERA, which is fifth among NESCAC pitchers, in 99.1 innings with an 8-7 record, while Armstrong owns a 2.57 ERA through 79.0 innings en route to a 9-4 mark. First-year shortstopCourtney Erickson (Everett, Mass.) has made an immediate impact for the Bantams, as she leads the team in nearly every offensive statistical category, including batting average (.384), slugging percentage (.657), RBIs (31), hits (38), extra-base hits (16) and total bases (65). Senior Erica Quinoes (Trumbull, Conn.) also poses a threat at the plate, as she has driven in 24 runs and scored 16 runs, while batting .376 and slugging .527.
Tufts (25-8, 12-0 NESCAC East) is 36-12 in the conference tournament and has not lost since 2011 when Middlebury knocked off the Jumbos, 2-0. Last season, Tufts captured its fourth straight and 11th overall title in a 1-0 pitchers' duel against Williams. This season, the Jumbos are hitting a NESCAC-best .363, as six players are batting over .390, and have scored 270 runs in 33 games. Junior Cassie Ruscz (Wolcott, Conn.) has played a large role in scoring production, as she leads the conference in home runs (12), RBIs (43) and slugging percentage (.835) to go along with her .400 batting average. First-year Christian Cain(Houston, Texas) has provided some pop in the lineup, batting .419 with 29 runs, 25 RBIs and a team-high 12 doubles, while sophomore Raven Fournier (Springfield, Mass.) is tied for the league lead in runs scored at 37. In the circle, sophomore Raina Galbiati (Boulder, Colo.) has turned in the NESCAC's fourth-lowest ERA at 2.41 on the way to an 8-3 record, and senior Erica County (Arlington, Mass.) paces the conference with a 17-3 record to go along with a 2.88 ERA.
The Jumbos will face Amherst (23-10, 7-5 NESCAC West), which is making its first NESCAC Championship appearance since 2012 and its fifth overall appearance. A pair of first-years have helped energize the Amherst lineup, as Kyra Naftel (Santa Clarita, Calif.) paces the team with a .450 batting average, 45 hits and a .610 slugging percentage at the plate and Lorena Ukanwa (Morgan Hill, Calif.) is 8-3 in the circle with a 2.33 ERA and a league-best 90 strikeouts over 96 innings. Junior Alena Markovitz (Northbrook, Ill.) also supplies some power in the lineup, as she leads the NESCAC with doubles and has driven in a team-high runs (31). Ukanwa isn't the only pitching option for the Purple & White, as junior Jackie Buechler (San Diego, Calif.) is 7-2 with a 3.11 ERA and sophomore Gina Pagan (Orinda, Calif.) is 6-3 with a 3.67 ERA. Tufts has won all four of the postseason meetings between the programs, but they have not faced each other since Amherst's last playoff appearance in 2012 when the Jumbos prevailed, 2-0.
The top two teams in the East and West divisions qualify for the NESCAC Softball Championship. The host site rotates between the two divisions each year, with the number-one seed in the West Division playing host this season. After the conclusion ofFriday's games, the first elimination game will be played between the first day losers on Saturday morning, followed by the first day winners. Saturday's late game will feature an elimination game between the game three winner and loser of game four. The championship on Sunday will include that last team standing on Saturday and the lone undefeated team in the tournament. If necessary, a second game will be played in the result of the undefeated team dropping Sunday's opener.