Worcester, Mass. - May 4, 2017 - Playing for a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship on Thursday night at Rooftop Field on the campus of WPI, the Springfield College softball team fell to Babson College, 5-3, in 11 innings.
The loss forced a winner-take-all NEWMAC Championship contest, to be hosted at Springfield College's Potter Field on Saturday.
With the loss, Springfiield College, which is currently the top-ranked team in New England, according to the latest NCAA Division III Regional Rankings, falls to 32-8, while Babson, which was ranked No. 5 in New England, improves to 27-13.
The Beavers were able to register 16 hits of Springfield College starter, Talia Loda (East Haven, Conn.), as the junior only gave up three earned runs in 11.0 innings pitched. After surrendering three runs in the bottom of the first inning, Babson starter Ali Reilly (New Canaan, Conn.) kept the Pride's bats quiet for the next 10 frames, as the junior finished with 10 strikeouts.
Babson got on the board with a run in the top of the first inning, the Pride responded with three in the bottom half of the frame to take a 3-1 lead after one. Loda led off the inning with a double to center, before Carianna Gasdia (Wakefield, Mass.) moved her to third on a bunt single to put two runners on with no outs. After a pop out from Kirsten Drobiak (Griswold, Conn.), Allie Wheeler (Agawam, Mass.) stepped up and cracked her sixth home run of the year to give the Pride a 3-1 lead.
The game remained 3-1 in Springfield College's favor until the top of the sixth when Babson picked up a pair of runs to even the score at three apiece. With two outs, Jacqueline Paul (Burlington, N.J.) singled to right center, scoring Samantha Smith (Hillsborough, N.J.), before Annie Mitchell (Rehoboth, Mass.) came home on a single through the right side from Josephine Mares (Houston, Texas) to tie the game.
After four more innings of scoreless play, Babson picked up the go-ahead runs in the top of the 11th inning, when Ashley Tango (Reading, Mass.) drilled a ball back to Loda, which hit off her glove and snuck up the middle, scoring Paul, before Victoria Casey (Emerson, N.J.) drove in Leslie Moore (Atkinson, N.H.) to seal the 5-3 win.