WORCESTER – Freshman Mackenzie Phillips (Gill, MA) struck out five in a five-hit shutout in game one while freshman Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) and senior Kristin Gallagher (Coventry, RI) each batted 2-for-3 with an RBI in game two as WPI swept MIT, 2-0 and 4-3, in the NEWMAC softball regular season finale Sunday on Rooftop Field.
With the wins, WPI (27-11, 14-4 NEWMAC) secures the NEWMAC regular season crown and top seed in the upcoming tournament for the second consecutive year. The Crimson and Gray will host a doubleheader on Friday. Game one features fourth-seeded Babson and fifth-seeded MIT (21-9, 11-7 NEWMAC) at 2:30pm. The winner of that game gets WPI at approximately 4:30pm. Full bracket below video.
WPI entered the weekend fifth in the NCAA regional rankings and went 2-0 versus MIT, who is one spot ahead on the list, and 1-1 versus Babson, who is one spot behind.
The host Engineers only needed the fruits of a first-inning double steal to take the opener as junior Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) scored while sophomore Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, NH) was safe at second. Senior Lindsay Gurska (Revere, MA) belted an insurance home run down the left field line for the 2-0 advantage through two innings.
Phillips (11-4) threw an efficient 76 pitches and issued only one walk in the outing which featured a trio of 1-2-3 frames, including the sixth and seventh. MIT sophomore Ravenne Nasser (Methuen, MA) (11-5) allowed one earned run on three hits and three walks while setting down eight via the strikeout in a complete game effort.
Freshman Sarah Von Ahn (West Linn, OR) notched a double to go with singles by four others. Senior Monica Shifflet (Poway, CA) and freshman Sierra Rosenzweig (Anchorage, AK) chipped in with sacrifice bunts.
Game two saw Phillips and Nasser resume their spot in the circle.
After MIT left the bases loaded in the top half of the first, Biney scored the initial run of the game when she scampered home on a miscue put into play by Graca before an out could be recorded in the home half. Following a scoreless second, MIT put its first run of the afternoon on the board as junior Jasmin Joseph (Woodland Hills, CA) led off with a double and came home on an RBI single by senior Natalie Shifflet (Poway, CA).
Graca walked to begin the bottom of the third. She moved to second on a stolen base and third on a ground out by junior RiAnna May (Westminster, CO) before coming home on a single to left by Gallagher.
Junior Casey Arpin (Uxbridge, MA) relieved Phillips with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the fourth. An infield miscue allowed senior Ali Trueworthy (Rochester, NH) to even the game at 2-2 prior to Chagami and Gurska erasing Monica Shifflet at the plate and Arpin inducing and fielding a grounder to avoid further damage. WPI regained the lead with two outs on the next half inning thanks to a Graca RBI double down the left field line.
MIT tied it up once more when an outfield miscue yielded another Trueworthy run in the top of the fifth. Biney represented the winning-run when she was hit to reach base, stole second and then stole third and came home on the same play thanks to a throwing miscue.
Graca (walk, double, stolen base, RBI, run) and Gallagher (RBI) went 2-for-3 and junior Julia Veitch (Carlisle, MA) walked twice. LeClaire also had a double for the Engineers. Chagami and Shevchuk were credited with sacrifice bunts. Phillips yielded two runs on five hits and two walks in her final 3 1/3 of the day. Arpin did not allow an earned run on two hits and zero walks in the balance of the contest.
Trueworthy was the lone Cambridge Engineer to have a pair of hits in the game to go along with two runs scored. Joseph doubled and Natalie Shifflet accounted for a pair of RBI. Monica Shifflet and Rozenweig each contributed with a sacrifice. Nasser pitched all 12 innings for MIT while her second six featured four runs on seven hits, four walks and a strikeout.
Click HERE if the video does not appear below
2017 NEWMAC Softball Championship Bracket
Day 1 – Friday (at No. 1 and No. 2 seeds)
Game #1 – No. 5 MIT vs. No. 4 Babson – 2:30pm (at No. 1 seed)
Game #2 – No. 6 Wellesley vs. No. 3 Wheaton – 2:30pm (at No. 2 seed)
Game #3 – Winner of Game #1 vs. No. 1 WPI - 4:30pm (at No. 1 seed)
Game #4 – Winner of Game #2 vs. No. 2 Springfield – 4:30pm (at No. 2 seed)
Day 2 – Saturday (at No. 1 Seed)
Game #5 – Loser of Game #1 vs. Loser of Game #2 – 10:00am
Game #6 – Loser of Game #3 vs. Loser of Game #4 – 12:00pm
Game #7 – Winner of Game #5 vs. Winner of Game #6 – 2:00pm
Game #8 – Winner of Game #3 vs. Winner of Game #4 – 4:00pm
Day 3 – Saturday (at highest remaining seed)
Game #9 – Winner of Game #7 vs. Loser of Game #8 – 12:00pm
Game #10 – Winner of Game #8 vs. Winner of Game #9 – 2:00pm
Day 4 – Sunday (at Day 3 site if necessary)
Game #11 – Winner of Game #10 vs. Loser of Game #10 (if necessary) – 1:00pm