New London, Conn. -- April 22, 2011 -- Sophomore designated player Breann Joyce belted a two-run home run to lead her Springfield College softball team to a 2-0 victory over #1-seeded and 4th-ranked Coast Guard this afternoon in a semifinal game of the 2011 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference postseason tournament. Freshman Ashley Marino pitched a two-hit shutout to record the upset victory. SC needs one more victory to secure the NEWMAC title.
In other games today, #6-seeded Clark defeated #5-seeded Wheaton, 5-4, to eliminate Wheaton. And #4-seeded Babson defeated #3-seeded Wellesley, 10-0 in five innings, to eliminate Wellesley. Then Babson eliminated Clark, 7-0, leaving only #1-Coast Guard, #2-Springfield, and #4-Babson left in the tourney.
The SC victory raised its record to 24-13 overall, while Coast Guard fell to 32-2. Coast Guard junior righthander Hayley Feindel is now 31-2 on the season, but is 1-2 versus Springfield.
Marino won her seventh straight decision, and is now 12-6 on the campaign. The Harrison, N.Y. native struck out seven, walked one, and had one batter hit by pitch. She gave up two first-inning singles, and nary a hit through the final six innings.
Feindel, meanwhile, struck out 13, and walked only one. Both runs were unearned.
Marino is now 2-0 in this tournament. She hurled the Pride to a 6-1 win over Wellesley this past Wednesday at SC's Potter Field. In that game, she gave up only three hits.
Baserunners were few and far between in today's game. In the first inning, SC freshman centerfielder Ally Rivelli (North Kingstown, R.I.) singled up the middle with one out, but was stranded. In the bottom of the first, after Marino set down the first two batters, Amanda Fredericks singled to right-center, then Holli Bastinek singled to left-center. But Catherine Walker then popped out to shortstop. That proved to be Coast Guard's best chance.
In the Bears' third inning, Maddie Buchert walked. In the Coast Guard fifth, Kaitlin Ward was hit by a pitch. Those were the only other CG baserunners.
The big inning occurred in the top of the fourth. Rivelli led off by reaching on an error, the only miscue of the game for either side. After the next two batters went down, Joyce powered a two-run home run to centerfield. It was her fourth round-tripper of the season, and was destined to be Springfield's second and final hit.
Thus, Springfield wins what is termed the driver's seat game, and is now the only team without a loss in this double-elimination tournament.
On Saturday, weather permitting, Coast Guard will meet Babson at 12 noon, with the loser being eliminated. The winner advances to play Springfield at 2 pm. Springfield must win only one game to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Coast Guard/Babson winner would need to win twice to reach the NCAA's.
Springfield reached the NCAA Tournament twice recently -- once in 2008 and once in 2009 -- both times as the automatic qualifier. SC was eliminated by Coast Guard last year in the NEWMAC Tournament final.