Wellesley, Mass. - April 26, 2014 - Despite a strong outing from pitcher Jennifer Joseph (Stamford, Conn.), the Springfield College softball team was eliminated from the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament on Saturday, after a 1-0, eight inning loss to Smith College.
The sixth seeded Pioneers improve to 17-12 on the season while No. 4 Springfield falls to 19-12 with the loss and is eliminated from the conference tournament.
After seven scoreless innings, Smith scored the game-winning run in the top of the eighth. Brittney Blokker was placed on second to start the inning and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Tori Brown. Edie Richardson drove her in on a sacrifice fly to left field. With two outs in the inning, Caroline Kushner singled to center and stole second to get into scoring position, but Gina Martucci grounded out to shortstop for the third out of the inning.
Elizabeth Joseph (Stamford, Conn.) was placed on second base for the Pride to start the eighth, but the Pioneers recorded three-straight outs on an infield pop up and two grounders to eliminate Springfield from the conference tournament.
Jennifer Joseph was solid in the circle for the Pride, but took the loss to fall to 9-4 on the year. She allowed just seven hits and one unearned run over eight innings, striking out five. Smith's Gina Martucci was also strong, earning the win to improve to 16-6. She scattered just three hits in eight innings of work, picking up three strikeouts.
Jennifer Joseph retired the side in order in the first inning, getting two ground ball outs and her first strikeout of the game. Smith followed suit, sitting down the first three Springfield batters in the bottom of the first.
The Pride got out of a jam in the top of the second, as Richardson led off the inning with a single to center field. Kushner moved her to second on a sacrifice bunt and Martucci grounded out to second base, pushing Richardson over to third. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases with two outs in the inning, but Joseph got Joanna Giordano to line out to shortshop to get out of the inning unscathed. In the bottom half of the inning, Martucci again retired the Pride in order, sitting down six-straight batters to start the game.
In the top of the third, Ruth Zimmerman picked up a lead-off single, Smith's second hit of the game, but the Pride recorded three-straight outs to end the inning. After two-straight outs to start the bottom half of the inning, Ally Rivelli (North Kingstown, R.I.) recorded Springfield's first hit of the game on a single through the right side. Rivelli advanced to second on a passed ball, but Smith got out of the inning on a line drive to shortstop.
Joseph picked up two more strikeouts in the top of the fourth, holding Smith to just a hit by Martucci in the inning. In the bottom of the fourth, Springfield tried to take advantage of two Smith errors, putting runners on second and third with just one out. The Pioneers picked up two-straight outs though, getting a Springfield runner out in a throw down at the plate, then a ground ball out to third to keep the scoreless tie intact.
Smith's Giordano tallied a hit to start the fifth, but the Joseph sat down the next three batters to hold off the Pioneers. Springfield picked up its second hit of the game in the bottom of the fifth, as Elizabeth Joseph singled with one out in the inning. Smith collected the next two outs on a foul out and a grounder to the pitcher.
Each team sent just three batters to the plate in the sixth inning, Joseph picked up her fifth strikeout of the contest while Martucci tallied her second.
In the top of the seventh, Sarah Tully tallied a pinch hit single to lead off the inning, but Springfield got a quick out on a pop up to first base. Giordano reached on a bunt to first, putting runners on first and second with just one out. Joseph was strong again in a tough situation, picking up two-straight outs on a pop up to second base and a fly ball to left field to get out of the jam.
Jenna Webb (Harrison, N.Y.) led off the seventh inning with a double to left field. Katie Gill (Wallingford, Conn.) pinch ran for Webb and Brittany Lally (Hudson, Mass.) moved her to third on a grounder to the pitcher. A fly ball was the second out of the inning for Springfield and Martucci forced extra innings with her third strikeout of the game to end the seventh.
Rivelli, Webb and Elizabeth Joseph recorded the only hits for Springfield. Smith was led by Giordano with two hits.