Williamstown, MA --- Kelsey Saucier (Worcester, MA) struck out three and smacked a pair of doubles, including the game-winner, as WPI walked off with a 2-1 victory over host Williams in eight innings on Saturday in the NCAA Division III Softball Regional at Cole Field.
The Engineers (33-9) are now in the driver's seat and will play the winner of this afternoon's second elimination game at noon tomorrow. Williams (31-8), who is already slotted in said elimination game, awaits the winner of the first elimination game between Western New England and MCLA. The Crimson and Gray only have to win one more to advance to the super regional round while their opponent will have to win twice.
With the game tied 1-1 heading into the seventh, Williams had a pair of runners reach with two outs, courtesy of a miscue and a fielder's choice, but a fly out would end any threat.
Saucier began the home half of the frame with a double that landed in the warning track in left field. Julia Ring (Leominster, MA), running for Saucier, moved to third on a bunt by Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA). Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. An infield popup and fly out to left sent the game to extras.
After a leadoff single by Lexi Curt (Moorpark, CA), Williams went down in order. RiAnna May (Westminster, CO) then opened the bottom of the eighth with a walk. Lindsay Gurska (Revere, MA) moved her teammate to second with a single through the left side to set the stage for Saucier's game-ending RBI double.
Alison Michalik (Naperville, IL) opened the game with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Mo Frank (Amherst, MA) followed with an RBI single up the middle for a 1-0 lead. Later in the frame, Saucier induced a fly ball, to Murphy-Cook in left field, to escape a bases-loaded jam.
Kristin Gallagher (Coventry, RI) looked to spark a two-out rally in the bottom of the stanza with a double to right. Katie Bumila (Raynham, MA) drew a walk; however the Ephs snagged a foul out to end the threat.
The Engineers set down the side in order in the top of the second. Saucier struck out the leadoff batter looking before Jacquelyne DiTroia (Andover, MA) robbed Erica Li (Salt Lake City, UT) of a base hit with a diving stab for the second out. A fly to left ended the frame.
Gurska and Hope Shevchuk (Burlington, CT) teamed up to get the leadoff runner stealing in the top of the third to set the Engineers defensive tone the rest of the way. After allowing a two-out hit down the left field line, WPI set down the next eight batters in a row. The white hot bat of Curt snapped the streak with a hit to center field.
With a pair of runners in scoring position, following a grounder to third and a bang-bang play at first, Caroline Medino (Pompton Lakes, NJ) escaped the sixth with a swinging strikeout.
The Ephs also set down eight in-a-row until Bumila was plunked with one out in the bottom of the sixth. She moved to second on a ground out by Shevchuk and came around to score on an RBI double by May to even the score at 1-1.
Saucier pitched the first five innings for the Crimson and Gray while Medino (8-3) picked up the win in relief. Emma Harrington (Columbus, OH) (15-5) allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out a pair for the Ephs.
Both teams logged seven hits and left nine runners on base. WPI's hit total included five doubles while Curt, who has yet to cause an out in the regional, went 4-for-4 for Williams.