CAMBRIDGE, Mass.- The New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) champion Eastern Nazarene College softball team's banner 2019 campaign came to a grinding halt Saturday in the NCAA Tournament. The Lions downed Husson 7-1 before suffering a heart-breaking 5-4 loss to regionally-ranked Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at Briggs Field at MIT.
The Lions finish the year with a 29-15 overall record to set a new single-season record for wins. The Eagles ended the season with a 24-11 mark while the Engineers, ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Regional Rankings, improve to 29-11-1 on the spring and advance to the regional final Sunday.
Kiley Ozaki (Ewa Beach, Hawaii) paced the offense with three hits, two RBIs, and one run scored on the day. Viviana Coix (Warrenville, Ill.) registered three base knocks, one RBI, and one run. Rebecca Ashman (Havre de Grace, Md.) posted two hits, one RBI, and three runs scored. Dominique Santos (Lancaster, Calif.) chipped in with two hits, two RBIs, and three runs.
In its first game of the day, Eastern Nazarene defeated Husson 7-1 to stave off elimination and earn the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament win along with the NECC's first-ever NCAA Softball Tournament victory.
The Lions produced six runs in the bottom of the second inning to capture a 6-0 advantage. Elisabeth Schaffer (Benton, Pa.) hoisted a sacrifice fly to drive in Ozaki. Rebecca Hayner (Halfmoon, N.Y.) drew a bases-loaded walk to knock in Kori Bow (Shaftsbury, Vt.). Santos followed with a three-run base hit to plate Olivia Warren (Webster, N.Y.), Hayner, and Coix. Santos came around to cross the dish as Ashman swiped second base.
Eastern Nazarene tacked on a run in the fourth to widen the margin to 7-0. Ashman roped a double to centerfield to drive in Santos from second.
The Eagles got on the board in the sixth to cut the deficit to 7-1. Bri Brochu scored as Morgan Coleman reached on an error.
Schaffer hurled a complete-game in the pitcher's circle and racked up six strikeouts while allowing just two hits.
In the nightcap, Eastern Nazarene suffered a season-ending 5-4 loss to MIT.
The home team tallied a run in the bottom of the first inning to grab a 1-0 edge. Devon Goetz scampered home from third on a sacrifice bunt by Julia Chatterjee.
The Engineers doubled their lead to 2-0 with a run in the second. Sierra Rosenzweig laced a two-out triple down the right field line to plate Sarah Von Ahn.
The Lions scored a run in the fourth to trim the gap to 2-1. Coix scorched a two-out single up the middle to drive in Ashman from third base.
Eastern Nazarene equalized in the top of the sixth inning to pull even at 2-2. Ozaki lasered a double to left to knock in Ashman.
The Lions generated a pair of runs in the seventh to claim a 4-2 lead. Ozaki and Bow landed back-to-back RBI singles to score Santos and Ashman.
MIT rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning to notch three runs to walk-off with the win. Goetz doubled to the gap in right-centerfield to plate Phoebe Li and Rosenzweig. Goetz crossed the dish with the game-winning run on a single by Michelle Wist.
Schaffer pitched 6.2 innings and finished with two strikeouts.
@NCAADIII TOURNAMENT POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE@SoftballENC head coach Dani Bishop and student-athletes Rebecca Ashman and Elisabeth Schaffer following Saturday's 7-1 win over Husson pic.twitter.com/UDuRBhbav4— ENC ATHLETICS (@ENCAthletics) May 11, 2019
@NCAA TOURNAMENT POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE @SoftballENC head coach Dani Bishop with student-athletes Rebecca Ashman and Lauren Clements following Saturday's 5-4 loss to MIT#ENCPR1DE pic.twitter.com/LWhhveTVdX— ENC ATHLETICS (@ENCAthletics) May 11, 2019