Taking on the defending national champions #1 Tufts University
(43-3) in the first game of the NCAA Division III National Championship
Tournament, #6 East Texas Baptist University (44-9) gave up six runs in the top
of the sixth inning dropping their opening game, 9-3. ETBU held a 3-2
lead entering the inning but Tufts brought in six runs with two outs as they
continue on in the winner's bracket.
"Early in the game we did a good job of battling through and
playing good ball and we talked the past couple weeks about winning the fifth,
sixth, and seventh innings and we failed to do that today," says head coach
Down 2-1 entering the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs
and Jayme Perez on first base, Alyssa Romero took a first-pitch swing that
poked the ball over the left field fence as ETBU retook the lead, 3-2.
The home run, which was Romero's eighth of the year, was third given up this
year by Tuft's Allyson Fournier (24-0). Tufts' pitching staff has only
let four home runs up this year overall.
Romero says about facing the best pitcher in the nation and the
2013 National Player of the Year, "We knew she was a first team
All-American and has some pretty good stuff and it was just getting on top of
the ball and laying off some of the pitches, not chasing things, and making her
come to us and the key to that was waiting for her to bring it to you."
With the momentum ETBU got the first two batters out in the top
of sixth inning but then Tufts pounded out two straight hits to put the tying
and go-ahead runs in position. On an 0-1 count an ETBU error on a
Christina Roso hit led to two runs for the 4-3 lead. From that point on,
Tufts kept the scoring going adding four more runs for a commanding 8-3
lead. Tufts then brought in one more run in the seventh inning for the
six-run lead, 9-3.
After two scoreless innings to start the game, Romero gave ETBU
their first run of the game for the 1-0 lead. She had a 1-1 count and
singled into left field as Mallory Westbrook trotted in from third base.
ETBU's lead did not last long as Tufts hit back-to-back home runs in the top of
the fourth inning to take a 2-1 lead. That lead lasted until the bottom
of the fifth when Romero had the home run giving ETBU the one-run lead, 3-2.
Parker pitched in all seven innings as she fell to 23-6 on the
year recording five strikeouts. She was relieved in the top of seventh
inning by Kelly Jo McLendon who faced two batters before Parker came back
in. Fournier had eight strikeouts and two earned runs for Tufts.
ETBU had just four hits in the game for three runs while Tufts
recorded 12 hits and two errors.
ETBU faces the loser of the Trine University/Montclair State
game at 1:30 p.m. on Friday at Suddenlink Field on the campus of the University