Tyler, Texas — In an epic battle of two of the nation’s top teams, defending national champion Tufts University scored six runs in the top of the 14th inning on Monday to win game two of the best-of-3 NCAA Division III Championship Series, 6-0, and force a winner-take-all third game with Salisbury University at noon on Tuesday at Texas-Tyler’s Suddenlink Field.
NFCA first team All-America pitcher Allyson Fournier tossed all 21 of the Jumbos’ innings in the circle — 284 pitches over two games, totaling four and a half hours of softball — and suffered her first loss in 28 decisions this season in the series opener earlier in the day.
Tufts (46-4) used five straight hits after a two-out intentional walk to first team All-American and NCAA home run leader Jo Clair (24 homers) — her fifth walk of the game — to finally break the scoreless tie in the 14th. Cassie Ruscz plated the first two with a single to left center, and, after Summer Horowitz singled through the left side, Gracie Marshall and Michelle Cooprider had hits to drive in two more. Carrie Copacino singled in the final two runs to complete the scoring.
Fournier did the rest, retiring the final three of 17 straight Salisbury batters to close the contest.
In the first game, Molly Simpson had an RBI single to cap a two-run fourth, as the (44-4) Sea Gulls won 2-1 behind the strong pitching of first team All-American Rachel Johnson (six-hitter, five strikeouts). Fellow first team All-American Paige Knussman homered off the scoreboard in left for Salisbury’s first run and also doubled in the contest.
Back-to-back doubles by Bri Keenan and Jo Clair put Tufts on the scoreboard first in the third inning. The loss was the Jumbos’ first in postseason play since falling 4-1 to Linfield on May 20, 2012 in Salem, Va. They were a perfect 11-0 last season and were 11-0 this year heading into Monday’s two games. It also snapped a 31-game win streak this season.
For complete details on the NCAA Division III Championship, check out our tournament site here