LEWISTON, Maine -- The No. 9 nationally ranked Tufts University completed a three-game sweep of the Bates College softball team on Saturday with a 15-5 win in NESCAC East Division action.
The Jumbos (27-4, 12-0 NESCAC East) completed an undefeated run through divisional opponents with a 16-hit attack, including a grand slam home run by Kris Parr.
Bates (14-9, 4-5 NESCAC East) still has a shot at second place in the division if the Bobcats can sweep next weekend's three-game series against Bowdoin, which has a 6-3 divisional mark.
Bates first-year starting pitcher Kelsey Freedman (Falmouth, Maine) retired the first two batters she faced, but the Jumbos staged a two-out rally, starting with Lena Cantone's single to center field. Jo Clair was walked, and Emily Beinecke also singled to load the bases. Cantone and Clair both scored on wild pitches, and after Parr drew a walk, Freedman was lifted for senior Kristen Finn (Winthrop, Mass.). Gracie Marshall greeted Finn by doubling down the left-field line to drive home Beinecke and Chrissie Massrey, who had walked, for a 4-0 lead before Bates came up to hit.
The Jumbos unloaded for six runs in the top of the third inning to break the game open. Clair and Massrey walked to sandwich a single by Beinecke to load the bases with no outs for Parr, who blasted a Finn offering over the center-field fence, her second homer of the season. Tufts would collect five more hits in the inning, all singles, as well as a walk, a passed ball and a Bates error.
The Bobcats scored their first run of the series in the bottom of the third, after Rebecca DiBiase came on in relief of Tufts starter Allyson Fournier. Senior Kiely Webster (Bethesda, Md.) drew a leadoff walk with the help of two illegal pitches by DiBiase, and Webster advanced to second and third bases on two more illegal pitches before Fournier was sent back out to the mound, assuming a 3-0 count but striking out senior Courtney Talcott (Millbury, Mass.) anyway. Senior Karen Ullmann (Ramsey, N.J.) singled up the middle, however, to score Webster from third before Fournier got out of the inning.
Bates then had its first big inning of the series in the fourth, plating four runs off of Aly Moskowitz, representing Tufts' third pitcher and third pitching change. Bates loaded the bases with one out on singles by juniors AnnaMarie Martino (Plymouth, Minn.) and Mary Lewis (Gardiner, Maine), followed by a walk issued to sophomore Alayna Garbarino (Reading, Mass.). Webster came up to bat and slapped a single through the left side to score Lewis and Martino. Bates loaded the bases again with a walk to Talcott, and Ullmann was hit by a pitch to score Garbarino. Moskowitz got senior Kelly McManus (Plymouth, N.H.) to pop up for the second out before walking senior Lauren Dobish (Chambersburg, Pa.) for Bates' fourth run of the inning, closing the gap to 11-5.
Moskowitz held Bates scoreless over the final three innings, while the Jumbos added four more runs in the seventh to help dash Bates' hopes for a seventh-inning comeback rally.
The Bobcats play a non-conference doubleheader at Thomas College tomorrow at 1pm, while Tufts plays a single game at Brandeis tomorrow at 12pm.