LEWISTON, Maine -- The Tufts University Jumbos got two outstanding pitching performances and swept the Bates College softball team in a Saturday doubleheader, downing the Bobcats 1-0 in game one and recording a 7-0 win over Bates in game two.
Bates (10-8, 0-5 NESCAC) and Tufts (15-5, 4-1 NESCAC) will square off in the finale of the three-game series Sunday at noon.
Game One: Tufts 1, Bates 0
Sophomore Kirsten Pelletier tossed a complete game and allowed just one run on five hits but the Bobcats fell 1-0 to the Jumbos in the opener of the Saturday's doubleheader.
Kristi Van Meter (7-2) scattered six hits over seven innings, striking out eight along the way to earn the win in the circle for Tufts.
Bates loaded the bases in the bottom of the first but did not sure. Junior Andrea Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) singled with one away. Then with two down, first-years Payton Buxton (Middlebury, Vt.) and Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.) drew back-to-back walks. But Van Meter struck out the next batter looking to escape the jam.
After going down in order in the second, Bates threatened again in the third. First-year Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) walked to start the frame. Russo bunted her to second and Bass advanced to third on a ground ball out. However, Van Meter was up to the task once again, getting Buxton to fly out to end the inning.
Senior captain Tori Fitzgerald (Holliston, Mass.) doubled with two outs in the fourth but was left stranded. Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) and Bass singled to start the fifth. Van Meter got a pop out and two strike outs to escape the Bobcat threat. Bates left nine runners on base in the contest.
The Jumbos got the only run they needed in the sixth inning. Maggie Lebinski singled through the left side to start the frame. Raven Fournier drew a walk and Lebinski advanced to third when Christian Cain flew out to deep left field. Jamie Stevens hit a slow roller to the right side that Pelletier chased down. Her only way was to first and Lebinski scored to put Tufts up 1-0.
After going down in order in the sixth, Bates mounted one last scoring attempt in the seventh. Pelletier singled with one out and Bass bunted her to second. Then Russo reached on an infield single, moving Pelletier to third on the play. But Van Meter struck out the next batter to end the game.
Game Two: Tufts 7, Bates 0
After outhitting the Jumbos in game one, the Bobcats recorded just one hit in a 7-0 loss to Tufts in game two.
Pelletier (5-5) got the start again, going three innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits. Kristina Haghdan (5-3) was terrific for Tufts, striking out 11 in a complete game one-hitter.
After scoring an unearned run in the third, the Jumbos plated three in the fourth. Fournier singled to start the inning and Reegan Coleman followed with a double to deep right. Stevens tallied an RBI single, putting runners at the corners. Then she stole second and scored along with Coleman on Sarah Finnigan's two-RBI single, making the score 4-0 in favor of the Jumbos.
Buxton moved from first base to the circle and retired the next three batters to end the inning.
Russo tallied the Bobcats' lone hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth, a single to left field. After tossing a scoreless fifth, Buxton surrendered a three-run home run to Sara Willner-Giwerc in the sixth, extending the Tufts lead to 7-0.
The Bobcats went down in order in the sixth and seventh, with Haghdan striking out a pair in the final frame to secure the win.