Medford, MA --- Junior Kristin Gallagher (Coventry, RI) hit a pair of clutch, two-out, two-RBI singles as the WPI softball team won the NCAA Division III Softball Championship Medford Regional title with a 4-2 victory against host Tufts on Sunday afternoon at Spicer Field.
The 22nd-ranked Engineers (38-7) advance to an NCAA Super Reginal next week against MIT, the Williamstown Regional Champions. The site has not yet been revealed as of 6pm Sunday evening.
For head coach Whitney Goldstein, it was her 102nd win as the Crimson and Gray skipper which sets the WPI softball record for career coaching victories, passing 'the Chief' George Legacy.
WPI entered Sunday needing just one win to capture the Regional crown. They had earned a pair of extra-inning victories earlier in the weekend, defeating Salve Regina 4-3 in nine innings on Friday and Tufts 3-2 in eight innings on Saturday. It marks the second consecutive year the Boynton Hillers have swept through the opening weekend of the tournament.
The Jumbos, who tied today's game at 2-2 with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, finish their season with a 30-12 record.
Gallagher's first two-run single of the game came in the third inning. The Jumbos had already cut down a run at the plate, with senior Christina Raso (Burlington, MA) fielding a grounder and firing home to sophomore Raven Fournier (Springfield, MA) who tagged the Engineer trying to score. However, with the bases loaded and two outs, Gallagher hit a single up the middle scoring sophomores Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA) and Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) for a 2-0 WPI lead.
Engineeer starting pitcher senior Clare Doolin (Newton, MA) kept the Jumbos off the scoreboard for five innings despite Tufts putting runners on base in every frame. Tufts had runners on first and second with no outs after a single by junior Summer Horowitz (Briarcliff Manor, NY) in the fourth, but did not score. Murphy-Cook made a nice running catch of a foul ball at the fence for the third out. Tufts had left seven runners on base through five innings.
Down to six outs left, the Jumbos rallied to score twice in the sixth and tie the game. Sophomore Samantha Siciliano (Chatsworth, CA) was hit by a pitch and went to third on a single by freshman Christian Cain (Houston, TX). Junior Maggie Hoffman (Avon, MA) grounded out to first base scoring Siciliano with Tufts' first run. Pinch hitter sophomore Raina Galbiati (Boulder, CO) then lofted a long fly to left that almost went out, but glanced off Murphy-Cook's glove for a run-scoring double tying the game. Galbiati took third on a wild pitch, but Doolan induced a ground out to end the inning.
WPI answered in the seventh. With senior Jacquelyne DiTroia (Andover, MA) on first after a fielder's choice, Murphy-Cook singled up the middle. With two outs, junior Lindsay Gurska (Revere, MA) earned a walk to load the bases. Gallagher then hit a two-strike pitch for a two-run single inside the right-field line scoring DiTroia and Murphy-Cook for a 4-2 Engineers lead.
Tufts junior Carrie Copacino (Newton, MA) led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, but junior Cassie Ruscz's (Wolcott, CT) line drive was snared by WPI junior shortstop Hope Shevchuk (Burlington, CT) and she doubled Copacino off first. Doolin recorded the final out on a pop up.
Gallagher earned Most Outstanding Player honors for her championship game heroics. Murphy-Cook, 2 for 4 today with two runs, Biney (1 for 4, run), and Doolin made the All-Tournament team. Doolin earned her 16th win today allowing eight hits and two runs with six strikeouts and a walk in seven innings.
Ruscz, Raso, and senior Erica County (Arlington, MA) were named to the All-Tournament team for Tufts. Raso was 2 for 4 today as the Jumbos out-hit the Engineers 8-7. Cain and Galbiati also had two hits apiece. County gave up seven hits and four runs with a strikeout and three walks in seven innings while taking the loss.
Major Portions Courtesy Tufts Sports Information
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