WORCESTER -- Freshmen Jacqueline Paul (Burlington, NJ) drove in the game-winning run and Brooke Stock (Fort Lauderdale, FL) struck out eight in a complete-game victory as fourth-seeded Babson eliminated host and top-seeded WPI from the 2017 NEWMAC Softball Championship, 1-0 (8 inn.), Thursday evening on Rooftop Field.
Babson (26-13), who is fifth in the NCAA Regional Rankings that were released earlier today, moves on to face second-seeded Springfield for the potential championship game which began around 7:40pm. WPI (29-13), the sixth team on the regional roll, now awaits Monday's 1pm selection show on NCAA.com to see if the season continues.
Junior Samantha Smith (Hillsborough, NJ) opened the eighth with a leadoff single before moving to second thanks to a sacrifice bunt by freshman Annie Mitchell (Rehoboth, MA). Smith then scored on a single up the middle by Paul. The Beavers had the bases loaded but were unable to get another run home due to a tag 'em out, throw 'em out double play by WPI senior Hope Shevchuk (Burlington, CT) and sophomore Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, NH) to get out of the inning. The Engineers were off to a good start in the home half of the frame as junior RiAnna May (Westminster, CO) doubled; however, a pair of infield ground outs and a strikeout ended the game.
Stock allowed seven hits and three walks as WPI senior Caroline Medino (Pompton Lakes, NJ) yielded eight hits and zero walks while striking out five in 7 1/3. Junior Kelsey Saucier (Worcester, MA) induced the double play ball to escape the eighth.
Babson was led at the plate by sophomore Ashley Tango (Reading, MA) who batted 3-for-3 with a double while Mitchell's sacrifice bunt was a factor in the winning run.
Senior Kristin Gallagher (Coventry, RI) and freshman Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) each batted 2-for-4 to go along with a hit and walk senior Lindsay Gurska (Revere, MA) and junior Ama Biney (Worcester, MA). Gurska tripled and May doubled while Biney and Graca each stole a base in the effort.
Each side had their chances as 80 percent of the runners left on base were in scoring position. In all, WPI amassed 10 abandoned runners and Babson totaled five.