Softball Overcomes Early Two-Run Deficit in 6-3 Triumph over Hope on Friday in Florida

CLERMONT, Fla. – Freshman pitcher Gillian O'Connor only allowed two earned runs in a complete-game win and junior catcher Raven Fournier went 3-for-4 at the plate for the Tufts University softball team, as the Jumbos overcame an early 2-0 deficit during a 6-3 triumph over Hope on Friday in Clermont, Florida. 

Maggie Hoffman went 2-for-4, to go along with an RBI and a run scored. 

O'Connor (3-1) struck out a trio of batters and walked four batters, while only relinquishing six hits during seven innings of work. Fournier belted three singles and scored a pair of runs, while senior captain Cassie Ruscz (2-for-4, home run, three RBIs, two runs scored) also starred for the Jumbos (6-5). 

The Flying Dutch (8-3) were led on the offensive side by freshman Amanda Diaz (2-for-3, double, RBI), while junior pitcher Sydney Jones (5-1) went the distance on the mound, giving up five earned runs on nine hits. The right-handed hurler struck out nine batters during her seven-inning outing. 

The Jumbos' breakout inning was the fifth, as they entered the frame trailing, 2-1, and proceeded to attack the scoreboard with three runs. Senior right fielder Maggie Hoffman drove a one-out single to center field, and then Fournier singled to center field with two outs. Ruscz stepped into the batter's box – always a good sign for the Jumbos with runners on base – and belted her team-leading third home run of the season, giving the Jumbos a 4-2 lead.  

The Jumbos extended their lead to three runs in the sixth, as freshman left fielder Emily Serata led off with an infield single. Junior Michelle Chisdak pinch ran for Serata, and proceeded to steal second base. With two outs in the inning, Hoffman ripped an RBI single to left field, plating Chisdak. 

Junior Sarah Jones responded with a one-out solo shot in the bottom of the sixth, bringing the Flying Dutch to within two at 5-3. The Jumbos reestablished their three-run cushion in the seventh, with Ruscz scoring on an RBI ground out by sophomore second baseman Kristen Caporelli

The Flying Dutch opened up the scoring in the second, as Diaz recorded a two-out RBI single to left field, scoring junior Katie Singer. Sophomore Noelle Jackson gave the squad a 2-0 lead, as she crossed home plate due to an error by the second baseman. 

The Jumbos reeled off five unanswered runs, ranging from the third to sixth inning. Fournier recorded a two-out single to center field in the top half of the third. The Springfield, Massachusetts, native brought the Jumbos to within one at 2-1, as she crossed the plate due to an error by the shortstop. 

O'Connor did not waste any time allowing the Jumbos' offensive to trot back on the field, as she posted a 1-2-3 third inning, including forcing a pair of ground outs. Sydney Jones responded in the top of the fourth, retiring the side in order, as she struck out a pair of Jumbos. 

Written by Trevor Wenners, Athletic Communications Intern

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