BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Top-seeded Bridgewater State University advanced to the championship round of the 2019 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Softball Tournament as the Bears edged #2 Framingham State University, 4-2, in the winner's bracket final on Friday afternoon at Alumni Park.
The host Bears improve to 20-19 on the season with the win, while the Rams fall to 21-19. Framingham will take on #4 Fitchburg State University in an elimination game on Saturday morning at 11:00 AM at Alumni Park. Bridgewater will play the winner of that game at approximately 1:30.
Freshman Kelley Reichert (Milford, Mass.) went the distance in the circle for the Bears to record her eighth win of the season. Reichert (8-7) allowed two runs on five hit with a walk and four strikeouts.
The Rams jumped on top with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning. Sophomore Grace Caughey (Mendon, Mass.) led off the frame with a base hit and scored all the way from first on and RBI double off the bat of senior Lauren Salisbury (Cranston, R.I.). Salisbury would later score on a fielder's choice RBI ground out by junior Kaylea Sherman (North Attleboro, Mass.).
The Bears answered with two runs in the home half of the fourth. A walk to freshman Megan Sharon (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and double by classmate Alexandra Taylor (Hebron, Conn.) put runners on second and third with one out. Sharon then scored on a wild pitch which also sent pinch runner Kacie Carvalho (Fairhaven, Mass.) to third. After a walk to junior Shannon Grindle (Halifax, Mass.), Carvalho raced home on junior Meghan Navarro's (Taunton, Mass.) suicide squeeze bunt to knot the score at 2-2.
Bridgewater scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead as the Bears took advantage of three walks in the inning. Consecutive walks to senior Jenny Heller (Taunton, Mass.), Taylor and Grindle loaded the bases with one out. Navarro then hit a blooper to right field that scored Heller with the go ahead run. The Rams were able to get the force at second on the play for the second out of the frame. Ruprecht followed with an RBI single to right-center to plate Taylor and give the hosts a 4-2 lead.
Reichert set down the side in order in the seventh to secure the win.
Senior Kelsi Gunarathne (North Providence, R.I.) suffered the loss in the circle for the Rams as she allowed four runs on only two hits over six innings. Gunarathne (12-12) walked eight batters and struck out four. Three of her eight walks turned into runs.
Grindle reached safely in all three of her plate appearances as she walked three times. Taylor went 1-for-2 with a double, a walk and a run scored.