Softball Opens Season with Dramatic 4-3 Victory Over Amherst

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Tufts University softball team opened its 2019 season with a stirring 4-3 victory over NESCAC foe Amherst College on Saturday in Florida.

Mia Steinberg scored the eventual winning run for Tufts.

The Jumbos scored once in the fifth and twice in the sixth to overcome a 2-1 deficit and lead 4-2. Then in the bottom of the seventh with an Amherst run already in and the bases loaded with two outs, Jumbo sophomore Kristi Van Meter stuck out Mammoth Andrea Sanders to end the game.

While the Jumbos (1-0) were starting their spring trip, Amherst (7-2) was ending it on Saturday. Tufts got on the board first when sophomore CF Edie Huling walked with one out and senior LF Kristen Caporelli followed with a single. They executed a double-steal and Huling later scored on a ground out by sophomore SS Mia Steinberg.

The Mammoths would take a 2-1 lead with single runs in the second and third. Freshman 3B Sage Innerarity led off the second with a single and took second on an outfield error by the Jumbos. She eventually scored on a fielder's choice by sophomore 1B Alyson Plaman. In the third, junior Kate Kopatic hit a one-out single and pinch-runner Scout Boynton scored on a base hit by senior 2B Sammy Salustri.

After giving up the early run, Amherst freshman pitcher Talia Bloxham allowed just one hit through the second, third and fourth innings. The Jumbos would tie the score in the fifth when sophomore RF Reegan Coleman had an infield single and eventually scored on a passed ball.

A hit batter by Bloxham and two Amherst errors helped Tufts take a 4-2 lead in the sixth. Junior 3B Jamie Stevens was hit by a pitch and went to second on an error during a Tufts bunt to start the inning. She then scored when a single by Jumbo junior DH Christian Cain was misplayed in the outfield. Sophomore Sofia Molina delivered an important insurance run with a single to left.

Tufts starter Kristina Haghdan escaped the fourth inning without allowing a run when Tufts twice got force-outs at the plate with the bases loaded. However, she allowed a lead-off triple by Amherst catcher Ronnie Falasco in the seventh. Innerarity followed with a single making it 4-3. After a pair of walks by Haghan put the potential winning run on second, Van Meter was called upon and recorded the dramatic final out.

Della Volpe had two of Tufts' six hits at the top of the batting order. Coleman had a hit and scored a run while Steinberg had a run and an rbi. Haghdan went 6.2 innings allowing nine hits and three runs with seven K's and three walks for the win.

Seven Amherst batters combined for nine hits with Kopatic and Innerarity finishing with two each. The Mammoths stranded 13 runners. Bloxham took her first loss of the spring allowing five hits and four runs (two earned) in 5.1 innings. Lorena Ukanwa was good in relief for the Mammoths (1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R).

Tufts plays Mount Saint Mary and Amherst faces Marian later in the day in Florida.