College Roundup: Mackenzie Murphy pulls Williams softball back to NCAA Super Regional
CLINTON, N.Y. — For the second time in as many games, the Williams College softball team walked off with a win. This time, the Ephs will walk off to the NCAA Division III Super Regional.
Mackenzie Murphy's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning plated Kristina Alvarado with the winning run Monday morning, as Williams beat SUNY Cortland 9-8 to win the Cortland Regional. Because of inclement weather, the game was moved to the artificial turf at Hamilton College in nearby Clinton.
With the win, Williams (36-5) will advance to a Super Regional for the third consecutive year. Williams lost to MIT in last year's Super Regional, while beating Babson in 2017. Both Super Regionals were played in Williamstown.
Ithaca, the No. 1 team in the Northeast Region, will host a Super Regional after claiming the Ithaca Regional title. The Bombers' game Monday with Brandeis was rained out, so the home team advanced by going 2-0 in the regional.
Williams made its way into the championship of the double-elimination Cortland Regional by knocking off St. John Fisher 12-10 in an eight-inning thriller on Saturday.
Murphy's two-run double put Williams ahead for keeps in that game, while Kirstin Mapes pitched out of a jam with the winning run at bat in the bottom of the eighth.
After rain forced postponement of the championship until Monday morning, Williams found itself down 8-5 after Cortland (31-16) scored four unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning. Murphy answered with a three-run home run, sending the game into extra innings. But the senior from Diablo, Calif., was not done.
Cortland had runners on in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth innings, but they were stranded, giving Williams the opportunity to get the win.
Kristina Alvarado, who scored three runs in the game, led off with a double to right. It was a ball that dropped in, but a bit of lackadaisacal play from the outfield and Alvarado's speed turned a single into a double. Winning pitcher Rebecca Duncan moved Alvarado to third on a sacrifice bunt. That brought starting pitcher Sam Van Horn back in to replace Cady Walts, and Van Horn walked Jessica Kim and Mara Kipnis to load the bases. Murphy followed with a single to right-center field, plating Alvarado with the Regional-winning run.
Murphy finished the day going 3 for 4 with a run scored and five runs batted in. Kim was 2 for 3 with four RBI, while Duncan also had two hits.
Duncan was named the most outstanding player in the Cortland Regional. Murphy, Kim and Casey Pelz were also named to the All-Tournament team.
Ithaca advanced by beating Farmingdale State (N.Y.) 8-0 and Penn State-Berks 3-2. Brandeis lost to Penn State-Berks, but beat Farmingdale and Berks to reach the final. The Judges would have to beat Ithaca twice to have advanced to the Super Regional against Williams.
The first game of the Williams-Ithaca Super Regional will be played Friday at 4 p.m. The second game is Saturday at 1 p.m., with an "if" game to follow.
Williams is the only NESCAC team still standing in the softball tournament. Tufts, the No. 1 team in the New England Region, lost in its regional final to Eastern Connecticut. Eastern Connecticut will play Rowan this weekend at a site to be determined. Rowan knocked off MIT in the Cambridge Regional.
NCAA D-III baseball
Neither Berkshire County college baseball team made it to the NCAA Division III tournament. But there will be some local representation in the field of 58.
Former Hoosac Valley standout Matt Koperniak and his Trinity baseball mates will host a regional this weekend in Hartford, Conn. Koperniak was third in NESCAC with a .380 batting average, and finished the regular season with four home runs and 26 runs batted in. Pittsfield Suns manager Matt Gedman is Trinity's assistant coach.
The Bantams (26-7), who did not qualify for the NESCAC Tournament, will host a regional this weekend and will play Salve Regina (26-17) in one game. The other game features Babson (33-7) and Keystone College (25-13) of Pennsylvania.
The NCAA changed how the D-III tournament is bracketed this year. There are 13 separate regional sites, with each regional winner funneling into Super Regional play next weekend.
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