WORCESTER – What initially looked like a pitchers' duel was interrupted in the sixth inning, as a four-run inning by No. 2 seed MIT did in top-seeded WPI, as the Worcester Engineers fell, 5-1, in Game 8 of the NEWMAC Softball Championship on Friday night at Rooftop Field.
Catcher Michelle Wist (Cypress, TX) went 2 for 3 and sent the Cambridge Engineers ahead for good with a go-ahead, two-run home run that swung the momentum to the visitors during their late rally.
With the loss, WPI falls to 29-9 overall and heads to the losers' bracket final of the double-elimination tournament, hosting No. 6 seed Wellesley at noon back at Rooftop Field on Saturday.
If WPI wins that game, they will host MIT (27-8-1) in the NEWMAC Championship directly afterward with an if-necessary game following on Sunday at 1 p.m..
MIT senior Ravenne Nasser (Methuen, MA) stifled the Worcester Engineers' offense, scattering seven hits and striking out six as she allowed just one run in a complete game to improve to 16-5 this season.
WPI struck first in the bottom of the third inning, as Lindsay Ambrosino (Chelmsford, MA) singled, stole second and then came around to score on a single up the middle by Caraline Wood (Averill Park, NY).
The Cambridge Engineers struck back to level it up at 1-1 in the top of the fourth, though, as Wist led off with a base hit, worked her way around to third base with one out and then tagged up to score on a sacrifice fly by Anya Chase (Wells, ME).
The game remained deadlocked into the sixth inning, as the Worcester Engineers managed three hits but left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth.
MIT made the hosts pay, stringing together five hits during a four-run top of the sixth, including Wist's go-ahead homer to left center that also scored Julia Chatterjee (Hinsdale, IL) to make it 3-1 at the time.
Chase and Madi Pickett (Santa Barbara, CA) both singled, and then Nasser (2 for 2) helped her own cause, driving both players in with a single up the middle to push the Cambridge Engineers' lead to 5-1.
The MIT captain Nasser didn't allow a base runner the rest of the way to close out the win.
Mackenzie Phillips (Gill, MA) started and threw 5-1/3 innings for WPI, allowing just three hits over the first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth inning. Katie Martin (Bedford, NH) came on in relief for the final 1-2/3 innings, allowing two hits and one run.
Ambrosino, Wood and Kyle Juarez (Elk Grove, CA) all had multi-hit games for WPI, although the veteran Nasser did not allow an extra-base hit the entire game.
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