SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Salve Regina University softball season closed with two two-run defeats in the second day of NCAA Division III Regional Championships hosted by Springfield College. Amherst College won the battle of undefeated teams, 2-0, after a 9 a.m. start; UMass Boston survived its first elimination game against Springfield College before celebrating a walk-off 4-2 victory in the bottom of the seventh against Salve Regina.
With the losses, the outstanding careers of four Seahawk seniors also come to a close - Kelsey Boarman (North Dighton, Mass.), Nikki Bukovsky (Westport, Conn.), Kara O'Riley (Acton, Mass.), and Lexi Soucie (North Easton, Mass.).
Amherst 2, Salve Regina 0
The Amherst College softball team picked up a 2-0 win over Salve Regina in Game 3 of the NCAA Division III Softball Championship Tournament Regional, hosted at Potter Field on the campus of Springfield College.
With the win, the Mammoths remain unbeaten on the national stage, and improve to 30-10 overall. This marks the first time that the Amherst College softball program has reached the 30-win plateau since the 2012 season when it went 36-6. With the loss, Salve Regina drops to 26-12 and will wait to take on the winner of Game 4 between Springfield College and UMass Boston.
For Amherst, Gina Pagan (Orinda, Calif.) improved to 19-4 overall as she pitched a complete-game shutout, giving up just three hits and striking out seven Salve Regina batters.
Her counterpart, Boarman pitched 7.0 innings for the Seahawks, and gave up just six hits in her fourth loss of the year. Boarman's record now stands at 18-4.
Amherst got on the board in the top of the second inning when Andrea Sanders (Bernardsville, N.J.) singled to short, before moving to third base on a pair of groundouts from Julia Turner (Kirkland, Wash.) and Alena Marovitz (Northbrook, Ill.). Next up, Ally Kido (San Jose, Calif.) dropped one in behind first base, allowing Sanders to come home to give the Mammoths a 1-0 lead.
Amherst doubled its lead in the top of the fourth inning when Marovitz drew a walk with two outs, before Scout Boynton (Concord, Mass.) took advantage of a defensive mishap from Salve Regina when she stole home to make it 2-0, Mammoths.
Showing their resiliency, Salve Regina was pressing in the bottom of the sixth inning when Amanda Riley (Barrington, N.H.) stole third to put runners on second and third with one out, but Pagan locked in forced two outs to get out of the jam unscathed.
Taking the circle in the bottom of the seventh, Pagan was able to shut the door on the Seahawks, as she struck out the final two batters of the contest.
UMass Boston 4, Salve Regina 2
With one runner on in the bottom of the seventh inning, UMass Boston's Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) took one deep to left field to lift the Beacons to its second win of the day, a 4-2 walk-off victory over Salve Regina in Game 5 of the NCAA Division III Softball Championship Tournament Regional, hosted at Potter Field on the campus of Springfield College.
With the win, UMass Boston is now 30-12 overall and will advance to the Regional Championship game, where it will take on Amherst at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 14. The Beacons' 30 wins marks the most in program history, as under the direction of Natalia Ardagna, UMass Boston has now won 52 games in the past two seasons. With the loss, Salve Regina's season comes to a close, as the Seahawks finish their season with a record of 26-13.
Building on her strong performance against Springfield College, Greenspan pitched a complete-game one-hitter to earn her 21st win of the year, while Boarman took the loss, finishing the season with a record of 18-5. UMass Boston struck first in the bottom of the first inning when a defensive mishap from Salve Regina resulted in two runs for the Beacons, a lead it would hold until the top of the sixth inning when the Seahawks rallied, pushing two across the plate on a pair of fielder's choices from Elizabeth Lombardo (Thomaston, Conn.) and Riley.
After Greenspan limited the damage in the sixth and got out of the frame, the Beacons went back to work in the bottom of the seventh, when Kiera Prusmack (Houston, Texas) beat out an infield single before Kaitlyn Morse (Arlington, Mass.) moved her over via a sacrifice bunt. Next up, Vento drilled her fourth home run of the season and second of the tournament to lift UMass Boston to victory.
Game recap courtesy of the Salve Regina Sports Information Department.
NCAA SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP REGIONAL
Springfield College (Springfield, Mass.)
Friday, May 12
Game 1 - Salve Regina def. Springfield, 7-4 | BOX
Game 2 - Amherst def. UMass Boston, 11-2
Saturday, May 13
ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE
The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of ten full member and three associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference currently administers championships in 16 intercollegiate sports with that number set to increase next year with the addition of football.