Softball win streak ends, Ephs drop two to Tufts

Softball dropped a pair of tough decisions yesterday in Williamstown, losing both ends of a double-header to visiting Tufts by the scores of 6-1 and 2-1.

The defeats snapped the Ephs’ five-game winning streak, and sends the team to 10-14 (3-3 in the NESCAC) on the season. The Jumbos improve to 8-2 in conference play and 19-10 overall.

Kate DeLuca ’03 took the loss for Williams in the opener, hit for the bulk of Tufts’ runs during a tentative early stretch. Clara Hard ’06 later relieved the senior, pitching solid innings to no avail, as the Ephs’ offense never really got going.

Those bats failed to warm up for the second game as well, as Williams was again limited to one run by stingy Jumbo pitching. Katherine Baldwin ’03 was stoic on the mound for the Ephs, taking a 0-0 contest into the bottom of the 6th before finally surrendering a pair of runs.

Utility player Christine Williams ’06 would get one back for Williams in the top of the seventh, knocking a fastball into deep left center to close the gap to one. The very next at-bat would prove to be the last, however, as a Tufts outfielder made a gorgeous, diving play on a line drive in right-center by Alana Frost ’06 to end the game and crush the Ephs’ hopes.

“It was a little disappointing,” Baldwin said. “We had our chances, and we weren’t able to take them.”

The Lady Ephs played well on Thursday, capturing both games of the doubleheader against the Owls of Keene State (KSC) who were ranked sixth in the country heading into the series. Williams took game one 8-1, and then won game two 1-0 which was called after six innings due to darkness. With the sweep Williams is now 10-12 (3-1 in the NESCAC), Keene State falls to (13-8).

The story of the day was the Williams pitchers who stymied the Keene State batters all day. Katherine Baldwin ’03 got the nod in the first game and pitched the complete seven innings for the win, allowing only one run and no walks while striking out eight batters.

At the plate it was hitting by committee again as Kristen Massimiano ’03, Kerri McMahon ’05 and Katherine Baldwin ’03 all had big hits to put up an eight spot on the scoreboard. The game also marked the return of catcher Mary Baccash ’05 whose talent behind the plate was as welcome a sight as her power at the plate as she went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the game.

Abby Blanchette who doubled and singled, scored the Owls’ only run in the fifth when she was knocked in by Jennifer Norman. Jennifer Smith took the pitching loss for KSC and now stands at 2-1 on the season.

Game two saw a pitchers duel as the Ephs were unable to muster many hits off Keene St. starter. However, they would need only one run as Hard put in a dominating performance on the mound striking out eight batters in six innings conceding only a lone double in the sixth and a trio of walks before the game was called because of darkness, giving the Ephs a 1-0 win.

Baldwin will be on the mound at 2 p.m. today, as Williams takes on Little Three rival and NESCAC West doormat Wesleyan in a grudge match. The doubleheader scheduled against Smith College was cancelled and will most likely not be made up.