MANSFIELD, Conn. – Senior Lena Cantone (Southington, Conn.) was a stellar 4-for-4 at the plate driving in four runs to propel second-seeded Tufts past Salem State to cap off the first day of the 2012 NCAA Division-III Softball Willimantic Regional on Thursday.
Sophomore Sara Hedtler (Wrentham, Mass.), senior Lizzy Iuppa (Paramus, N.J.), senior Mira Lieman-Sifry (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.) and sophomore Kayla Holland (Attleborough, Mass.) each had a pair of hits for the Jumbos as the quartet scored a total of six runs and a pair of RBI. Salem State freshman Jenn Toussaint (Reading, Mass.) batted 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.
Salem State lit up the scoreboard early with a four-run outburst in the first inning. There would be a Viking at each base to set the stage for a 2-RBI single to left by Toussiant. Bryan later scampered home after swiping third base and another run would cross the plate on a Tufts miscue.
The Jumbos sliced into the Salem State lead on an RBI hit back to the pitcher by Cantone and a run-producing single to center field by junior Emily Beinecke (Concord, Mass.).
Tufts later took the 5-4 lead in the second inning as two runners scored on a double by sophomore Jo Clair (Glastonbury, Conn.) and a subsequent RBI single off the bat of Cantone.
Lieman-Sifry sent a sacrifice fly to center field to help the Jumbos begin to pull away in the third. A miscue in the fourth helped Tufts to a three run lead.
Tufts tacked on two more runs in the fifth as Cantone connected on a double to left field.
Salem State inched closer as senior Ashley Aldred (Arlington, Mass.) stole third and scored on a miscue.
A single by Lieman-Sifry completed the Jumbos scoring as she drove the squad's 10th run of the evening.
Freshman Allyson Fournier (South Windsor, Conn.) scattered four hits over seven innings while not allowing an earned run as she struck out 13 batters in the win (19-1) for the Jumbos.
Junior Alyssa Bryan (Stoneham, Mass.) suffered the defeat (17-5) as she allowed six runs – five earned – on 12 hits in five innings of work.
Tufts (37-5) will take on St. John Fisher at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow in the winner's bracket while Salem State (33-13) will square-off with University of Rochester at 1:30 p.m. in an elimination game.