Bears Fall to Losers' Bracket
MANSFIELD, Conn.--(5/12/12)--Freshman Allyson Fournier fired a four-hit shutout while striking out eight leading second-seeded Tufts to a 3-0 win over fifth-seeded Coast Guard in the winners' bracket final at the Mansfield Regional of the 2012 NCAA Division III Softball Championship at Eastern Connecticut State University.
The Bears, the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament champions drop to 28-18 and will play on Sunday at noon in the losers' bracket final against No. 2 Eastern Connecticut, the top-seeded team in the region. The winner of that will need to beat Tufts twice to advance to the Division III College World Series in Salem, Va. Coast Guard snapped Eastern Connecticut's 40-game win streak on Friday with a 5-0 win.
Coast Guard lost to Tufts 9-2 in the winners' bracket final in the 2009 NCAA Division III Regional. The Jumbos later beat the Bears 10-1 in the championship round.
The Bears old nemesis, the illegal pitch, broke a scoreless tie in the fourth. Senior All-American Hayley Feindel, the NCAA Division III all-time wins (124) and strikeouts (1454) leader was perfect through three innings before Sara Hedtler bunted for a hit to lead off the fourth before Lena Canton ripped a one-out double to put runners on second and third. Feindel got the second out on a foul pop up before first base umpire Tom Boston called Feindel for an illegal pitch allowing Hedtler to score giving Tufts a 1-0 lead.
Tufts (39-5), ranked ninth nationally, added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth as after a double play, Jo Clair blasted her team-leading 14th homer of the season to left center before three straight singles gave the Jumbos a 3-0 lead.
Feindel (21-9) allowed nine hits and three earned runs while striking out five. Fournier improved to 21-1 on the season.
Coast Guard was held to just four singles, a single by senior Maddie Buchert in the first, a single by freshman Jesse Richardson in the fourth, a hit by sophomore Devin Fellman in the sixth and a single by freshman Chloe Harmon in the seventh.