Jumbos Hit Their Way Past Lynx in NCAA Regional Opener

Jumbos Hit Their Way Past Lynx in NCAA Regional Opener

BABSON PARK, Mass.—Senior Emily Beinecke (Concord, Mass.) and junior Sara Hedtler (Palo Alto, Calif.) combined for six hits and five runs batted to help pace top-seeded Tufts University in a 12-5 victory over the eighth-seeded Lynx in game one of the Babson Park Regional on Thursday afternoon at Alumni Field.

With their 11th straight win the Jumbos, ranked seventh in the most recent National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Poll, move to 39-3 on the season while the Lynx, who had won nine straight games, drop to 24-18.

Beinecke went 3-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and three runs batted in while Hedtler was 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs. Sophomores Michelle Cooprider (Hopkinton, Mass.), Gracie Marshall (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Bri Keenan (Portsmouth, N.H.) all had two hits on the day and first-year Abby Curran (Hamilton, Mass.) drove in a pair of runs for Tufts.

With her lead-off single in the top of the first inning, senior Emily Mangiaratti (Amherst, Mass.) picked up her 200th hit of her career. Classmate Molly Sarson (Sanford, Maine) and junior Sarah Apgar (Andover, N.J.) also picked up hits for Lesley while junior Nicole Mercurio (Wakefield, Mass.) drove in a pair of runs. First-year Angela Mukai (Amherst, N.H.) recorded three of the Lynx 10 walks on the afternoon.

After Tufts eluded a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the top of the first frame, the Jumbos wasted little time scoring in the home half.  A trio of base knocks, a double and a walk led to four Tufts runs, highlighted by Beinecke's two-run single to center. Junior Jo Clair (Glastonbury, Conn.) and sophomore Kris Parr (Austin, Texas) also recorded an RBI apiece.

The Jumbos again threatened in the second, but consecutive singles to open the inning went for naught, as Sarson fielded a sharp grounder at third and stepped on the bag for the first out before starting an inning-ending double play to thwart the rally.

Lesley carried that momentum into the third frame, where the Lynx drew three walks with one down.  A sacrifice fly to left field off the bat of Mercurio plated Mangiaratti to narrow the deficit to 4-1.

Tufts broke the game open in the bottom of the third, scoring four runs on three hits and one error. Hedtler posted her third single of the day, this time delivering the big blow with a two-run knock that scored Marshall and Curran.

The Lynx repeated their third-inning start in the top of the fourth by loading the bags on a trio of walks. Sarson's single and an ensuing error brought Lesley to within 8-3. Lesley's ninth walk of the game made the score 8-4 and Mercurio's groundout to short trimmed the Lynx gap to three.

Curran's clutch two-out, two-run single provided the top seed with some breathing room, as the Jumbos carried a 10-5 advantage into the fifth. Tufts again rallied with two down in the fifth, as back-to-back RBI doubles from Beinecke and sophomore Keenan made the score 12-5.

Senior Rebecca DiBiase (Wellesley, Mass.) earned the win for the Jumbos in relief of starter Aly Moskowitz (Westfield, N.J.) to move to 9-1 on the season. DiBiase allowed one hit over an inning and two-thirds after Moskowitz allowed three earned runs and two hits in 3 1/3 frames. Sophomore Allyson Fournier (South Windsor, Conn.) pitched the final two frames for Tufts, striking out all six batters she faced to close out the win.

First-year Jordan Thomas (Fitchburg, Mass.) took the loss for Lesley, falling to 9-8 on the season while Mercurio came in relief to record the final four outs for the Lynx.

Both teams will be back in action on Friday as Lesley will face an elimination game at 10:00am against either Springfield or St. Joseph's while Tufts will play a 2:00pm winners' bracket game.