WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — Williams College junior Mackenzie Murphy threw a 2-hit shutout and senior Brenna Martinez hit a solo home run to account for game's only tally as the Williams College softball staved off elimination by edging M.I.T., 1-0, in Game 2 of the 2018 NCAA Div. III Tournament's Williamstown, Mass. Super Regional Friday on Cole Field.
The Engineers stole Friday's first game, scoring three times in the top of the seventh to rally past Williams — the big blow a two-out, two-run home run by sophomore Madi Pickett that snapped a 2-2 tie and led M.I.T. to the 4-2 victory.
Game 3 will be attempted to be played on Sunday, with rain already forcing a wash out of Saturday, at a time to be determined.
Murphy retired the final 14 batters she faced in the nightcap. She improved to 16-1 on the season in a rare game in which she did not walk nor strike out a batter. The Engineers had two excellent chances to score early off the right-hander, but after two errors helped M.I.T. load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the third, the defense behind her — namely shortstop Jessica Kim — helped her wiggle out of the jam. First, Engineer Amanda Lee ripped a liner back up the middle. Murphy got a glove on it, deflecting it and slowing it down. Kim stopped on a dime, reversed directions, snared the ball and fired to catcher Lexi Curt for the forceout at the plate. Sarah Von Ahn then hit a hard grounder up the middle that at first appeared ticketed for center field, but Kim raced to her left, snared the ball, touched second and fired to first for an unassisted, inning-ending double play.
M.I.T. would not put another runner on base in the game.
In the meantime, Engineer hurler Colleen Campbell was having little trouble with the Williams line-up. She had finished off the first game — and picked up the win — with three no-hit innings in relief of starter Ravenne Nasser. In the nightcap, she started and allowed a baserunner an inning through the first three, then tossed a 1-2-3 fourth. Eph senior Martinez led off the fifth by fouling off strike one. The next pitch from Campbell she hit deep to left center and the ball cleared the fence for her seventh home run of the season — a career high — to give Williams the 1-0 lead.
Hits were hard to come by on Cole Friday, there was a grand total of 14 in the two games combined, with Williams getting three in each contest. Campbell took the loss in game two, allowing the three hits over four frames while walking two and striking out none. Nasser threw three no-hit innings of relief, walking two and fanning one.
Williams led 2-0 after four thanks to back-to-back RBI-singles by Murphy and Kirstin Mapes off Nasser in the bottom of the second. But Von Ahn rifled an opposite-field RBI-single through the left side to halve the M.I.T. deficit in the fifth. It stayed 2-1until the top of the seventh. After an out, Devon Goetz was hit by a Rebecca Duncan offering for the third time. Lee then rapped a double off the wall in left center. That brought up Von Ahn, and she lined a shot to left that was corralled by Ephs' left fielder Riley Salvo. Goetz tagged and scored, but the Ephs' appealed the play at third, saying she had left too early. The umpires got together and sided in M.I.T.'s favor and the game was tied 2-2.
Pickett was up next and she drove a ball deep to straightaway center, right over the 200-foot sign. Williams center fielder Kristina Alvarado made a gallant effort for the ball, but it just eluded the webbing of her glove and landed safely for a two-run home run.
Pickett was 2 for 4 with two RBI, the only player on either side in either game to have a multi-hit game. Campbell earned the win with her three no-hit innings of relief, in which she walked three and struck out two. Nasser had started and gone four innings, allowing three hits and no earned runs while walking one and striking out one. Duncan took the loss for Williams, falling to 17-4. She gave up six hits over seven innings, walking two and fanning seven.