Tufts holds on to edge Amherst 5-3, in NESCAC Tournament

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Tufts pitcher Raina Galbiati worked her way out of bases-loaded one out jam in the top of the seventh Saturday, hurling Tufts to a 5-3 win over Amherst in the second game of the 2016 NESCAC Tournament.

Tufts improved to 26-8 and advances to face Williams Saturday at 1 p.m. Amherst (23-11) takes the field against Trinity at 10:40 a.m. in the tourney's first elimination game. 

The two teams picked up in the top of the fifth Saturday morning after rain forced the game to be suspended Friday. Amherst did not score in its half of the fifth, but Tufts plated four in the bottom of the frame to take a 4-1 lead. 

Samantha Siciliano tied the game for Tufts, roping a double to center that plated Christian Cain, who beat the relay throw home on a bang-bang play. A errant pick-off throw at third allowed Tufts to score the go-ahead run, and Cassie Ruscz capped the inning with a two-run single up the middle to make it 4-1. 

It was 5-1 entering the top of the seventh. Nicolette Miranda gave Amherst life when she crushed a two-run, opposite field home run to right that made it 5-3. Taylor Summers, Lauren Tuiskula and Brianna Cook singled to load the bases, but Galbiati struck out the next batter on a 3-2 pitch and then induced a game-ending forceout at third. 

Amherst outhit the Jumbos, 14-6. Miranda and Summers were each 3 for 4. Sammy Salustri was 2 for 3. Cain was 3 for 3 with two runs scored for Tufts. 

Galbiati earned the win, allowing 14 hits over seven innings while walking two and striking out two. Amherst's Lorena Ukanwa took the loss, allowing five hits over 5 1/3 innings while walking two and fanning two. 

The game's only run Friday came in the top of the fourth when Taylor Summers led off with a single to left and took third when Lauren Tuiskula laced a double into the left-center field gap. After Annie Murphy worked a walk to load the bases with no outs, Julia Turner's comeback was field by Tufts starter Raina Galbiati and resulted in a force out at home. 

Kyra Naftel then drilled a long fly ball to center that easily scored Tuiskula from third for a 1-0 Amherst lead. 

Tufts best scoring chance of Amherst starter Lorena Ukanwa came in the bottom of the second when, with two outs, Christian Cain ripped a single off Amherst first baseman's Alena Marovitz's glove. Maggie Hoffman drew a walk, but Ukanwa retired Carrie Copacino to end the threat.