Hartford, Conn. – Timely hitting, sound defense and a pair of gutsy pitching performances led the Trinity College softball team to a doubleheader and series sweep of the Tufts University Jumbos, the latter of which is the first-ever in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) East softball history, on Saturday afternoon in Hartford. Trinity won game one, 6-5, before going on to take the second game of the day, 6-3, becoming the first team in league history to sweep the Jumbos, on a day in which the Bantams honored their senior class, captains Victoria Baez (Tuckahoe, N.Y.) and Olivia DeJoie (Lynn, Mass.). The Bantams improve to 17-9 overall and 7-2 in NESCAC East play while Tufts falls to 14-9 on the year and 4-3 in conference action.
Trinity came away with the one-run victory in game one thanks to timely hitting and another solid pitching performance by first-year Lindsay Golia (North Branford, Conn.). Golia allowed four earned runs in the complete-game effort for her ninth victory of the season while Tufts starting arm Allison Tilton (Jupiter, Fla.) went 3.2 innings, allowing six earned runs on just three hits in the loss.
Tufts put the pressure on Trinity early, plating a pair of runs in the opening frame to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. Samantha Siciliano (Chatsworth, Calif.) came around for the day's first run on an RBI-single off the bat of Raven Fournier (Springfield, Mass.). A sacrifice fly by Maggie Hoffman (Avon, Mass.) brought home Annika Han (Lynnfield, Mass.) for the second run of the inning but Trinity's bats proved up to the task.
Junior Erica Merullo (Lynnfield, Mass.) led off the home half of the first with a single which brought classmate and captain Michelle Treglia (Fairfield, Conn.) to the plate. Treglia made it a brand new ballgame when she smoked her first career homerun, deep over the left field fence, to tie the game 2-2.
Both Tilton and Golia held the respective offenses at bay, trading zeros on the scoreboard, until the Bantams exploded for four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Junior Meaghan Race (Grand Rapids, Mich.) got things going with a leadoff walk before a single by classmate Katie Haghdan (Pelham, N.H.) put runners on the corners. First-year Nikki Andersen (Dunbarton, N.H.) gave Trinity its first lead of the day with a sacrifice fly that scored Race. With one on and two out, Merullo was hit by a pitch and Treglia walked to load the bases. Sophomore Nicole Towner (Erie, Colo.) came up clutch with a bases-clearing double to right-center to open up a 6-2 lead.
Tufts got one back in the top of the fifth on a solo homerun by Cassie Ruscz (Wolcott, Conn.), her second in as many days, to cut the deficit to 6-3. Raina Galbiati (Boulder, Colo.), who came on to replace Tilton in the fourth, gave the Jumbos a chance as she kept the Bantams off the scoreboard the rest of the way. Galbiati helped the cause in the sixth, starting a Jumbo rally with a double. Maggie Lebinski (Monroe, Conn.) pinch-ran for Galbiati and came around on a double by Siciliano. Tufts worked the bases loaded before Fournier was hit by a pitch to make it a one-run ballgame, but Golia held strong, inducing a fly-out to end the threat and keep the lead at one.
Galbiati retired Trinity in order in the bottom of the sixth but Golia, after allowing a one-out single, worked the second and third outs in the top of the seventh to seal the victory.
In game two, it was Trinity that jumped out to an early lead. In the bottom of the first, sophomore Courtney Erickson (Everett, Mass.) laid down a perfectly placed bunt down the first-base line that wound up scoring Merullo and Treglia from third and second, respectively. Trinity starting pitcher and junior captain Rachael Smith (Winchester, Mass.) kept the Jumbos off the scoreboard for a second-straight inning in the second before the Bantams added another pair of runs in the home half.
Treglia stayed hot at the dish, roping a run-scoring single through the left side of the infield to score Haghdan before Towner laced a single back up the box with two outs that scored Andersen to open up a 4-0 lead. Ruscz ended the shutout in the top of the third inning with a hard-hit RBI single to left, scoring Carrie Copacino (Newton, Mass.) to make it a 4-1 game.
Trinity loaded the bases in third with one out but Galbiati, who came on to spell starter Gillian O'Connor (Montgomery, N.J.), worked a pair of outs to keep the deficit at just three. A leadoff hit by Christian Cain (Houston, Texas) in the fourth gave Tufts a runner in scoring position with no outs but a fantastic defensive play by Treglia ended the threat almost immediately. Jumbo junior Sarah Finnigan (Weymouth, Mass.) followed Cain with a rocket line-drive to Treglia at second who snagged the ball out of mid-air and flipped it to Erickson at the second base bag to double up Cain. Smith then induced a ground out for the third out of the inning.
Ruscz cut Trinity's lead to one in the top of the fifth with a two-run blast to left-field, scoring Han who reached prior on an infield single. Golia came on to relieve Smith after the two-run shot and worked the final out of the inning to limit the damage to the two runs.
Tufts put pressure on the Bantams defense once again in the top of the sixth, finding themselves with runners on second and third with one out. Han came to the plate and hit a dribbler down the first-base line, but a heads up play by Bruno, who tagged Han in the base path and held the runner at third, kept Tufts from scoring the game-tying run. Erickson made good on a ground ball at short stop to end the inning as Trinity took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Bantams loaded the bases with one out after a pair of walks, sandwiched around a double to right by Andersen. Towner followed with a double to right-center that one-hopped the fence, scoring Andersen and pinch-runner Lindsay Pressman (Huntington, N.Y.) to open up a 6-3 lead.
In the seventh, Golia took care of business, sitting down the side in order as the Bantams celebrated the sweep. Smith picked up her eighth win in the circle for Trinity finishing with one strikeout in 4.2 innings of work while Golia earned her third save of the year.