After having its 15-game winning streak snapped by Babson College last Tuesday, Tufts softball promptly returned to dominance over the weekend. The sixth-ranked Jumbos went a perfect 5-0 to improve their record to 22-2, laying the groundwork for another lengthy winning streak.
Tufts started its road trip on the right foot when Allyson Fournier blew Bowdoin College away with her second no-hitter of the season on Friday night. The star sophomore struck out 17 while outdueling her opponent Melissa DellaTorre, who nearly matched Fournier with five innings of one-hit ball before stumbling in the top of the sixth.
At that point, sophomore center fielder Michelle Cooprider dropped down a bunt single to lead off the inning and junior tri-captain catcher Jo Clair followed with a single of her own. After senior tri-captain second baseman Emily Beinecke flew out, junior first baseman Kayla Holland launched a tiebreaking three-run homer that spurred the Jumbos to a 3-0 victory.
The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader was another tightly contested affair in which Tufts failed to score until the sixth inning. The Polar Bears jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but that was all they were able to get off senior tri-captain Rebecca DiBiase, who held Bowdoin in check until Tufts rallied to tie the score in the top of the sixth. Fournier came on in relief for DiBiase and delivered three perfect innings, to go with four strikeouts, as the game stretched into extra innings. The Jumbos loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the eighth and capitalized, grabbing a 5-2 lead when Cooprider crushed a bases-clearing double. Fournier retired Bowdoin with a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning to seal the win.
As an encore, Fournier started the nightcap on Saturday and tossed four more hitless innings. But with Tufts up 7-0, coach Cheryl Milligan removed Fournier from the game, ending her bid at another no-hitter. Senior Aly Moskowitz entered the game in the fifth and was able to finish it off, as Tufts completed its sweep of Bowdoin with a 7-1 triumph.
“Of course Allyson always wants the ball – she wouldn’t be the player she is if she didn’t – but we are about team first, and she trusts the decisions that we make in the interest of the team,” Milligan told the Daily in an email.
Milligan’s wise choice to save her ace paid off the following day when Tufts traveled to Wellesley College for a second doubleheader. The Jumbos took both games, beating Wellesley 6-2 in the first and winning the second 5-4 in eight innings over Eastern Connecticut State University.
The first game wasn’t much of a contest, with Moskowitz going the distance to beat the Blue. The second game of the doubleheader against ECSU, however, was a back-and-forth affair. Tufts fell behind early and recovered to take the lead, only to give it right back, setting the stage for a dramatic rally in the top of the seventh.
With the Jumbos down to their last out, Beinecke singled to keep the game alive, which was followed by a clutch double from Holland that tied the score at 4-4 and forced extra innings. Tufts took the lead in the eighth on Kris Parr’s pinch-hit RBI single, and then cut down the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the inning to preserve the win.
DiBiase credited the team’s youth for helping the Jumbos persevere through the grueling weekend.
“We have lots of freshmen stepping up,” she told the Daily in an email. “Players who did not see much time last year are making big, exciting contributions this year.”
The Jumbos get some much-needed time off before resuming play at Trinity on Friday.