2017 NCAA Tournament Super Regional | 4 NCAA Tournaments | 3 Conference Championships

NEWMAC Tournament Preview: No. 4 Softball vs. No. 2 Springfield

NEWMAC Tournament Preview: No. 4 Softball vs. No. 2 Springfield

No. 4 Softball vs. No. 2 Springfield
NEWMAC Tournament—Game #8
Saturday, April 29—5 p.m.
Rooftop Field—Worcester, Mass.

Babson and Springfield will meet for the 54th time on Saturday afternoon in a series that dates back to 1999. The Beavers are 19-34 all-time against the Pride and the teams traded shutouts in their regular season doubleheader on April 15.

The Beavers and Pride will meet for the 16th time in NEWMAC Tournament play on Saturday. The Beavers are 7-8 in the conference playoffs against the Pride, which includes a 4-0 win in an elimination game last spring.

First-year Brooke Stock tossed a four-hit shutout as the Beavers defeated Springfield, 4-0, in the back end of a doubleheader on April 15 in Babson Park. Junior Samantha Smith had two hits and scored once, while junior Ashley Tango and first-year Kayla Schinik both drove in a run for Babson. Junior Carianna Gasdia finished with two hits for the Pride.

Junior Rachel Ball went 3-for-4 with a run scored and classmate Talia Loda tossed a three-hit shutout as the Pride blanked the Beavers, 5-0, in the opening game of a twinbill on April 15 in Babson Park. Tango singled and reached base twice for the Green and White, which stranded eight runners on base.

Second-seeded Springfield (31-7) has won five straight games after opening NEWMAC Tournament play with an 8-0 six-inning victory over Wellesley on Friday afternoon. Junior Kirsten Drobiak homered and drove in three runs and Loda tossed a four-hit shutout for the Pride, which pounded out 14 hits on the day. Gasdia is batting .457 with seven extra-base hits and 43 runs scored, Drobiak is hitting .452 with 20 doubles, six homers and 46 RBI, and first-year Allie Wheeler owns a .421 average to go along with 11 doubles, five home runs 31 runs scored and 35 runs batted in. Loda is 18-2 this spring with a 1.10 ERA, five shutouts and 86 strikeouts in 133.2 innings.

Fourth-seeded Babson (25-12) has won its last five games after defeating top-seeded WPI, 4-1, in the second of two games on Friday. Stock recorded a career-high 14 strikeouts and Smith drove in a pair of runs for the Beavers, who also edged MIT 1-0 to open the tournament. Sophomore Josephine Mares is batting .379 with 10 extra-base hits, 11 RBI and 19 runs scored, senior Leslie Moore is hitting .343 with 10 extra-base hits and 20 RBI, and first-year Victoria Casey has a .338 average to go along with six doubles and 15 runs batted in. Stock is 14-5 with a 2.58 ERA and a league-high 119 strikeouts in 127.1 innings, while Reilly has gone 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA and six shutouts in 125.2 innings.

The winner of Saturday's game will enter next weekend just one victory away from earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The loser will be faced with having to win three straight games next weekend to capture the conference title.

Mares is 11-for-19 (.579) at the plate with six runs scored in six NEWMAC Tournament games, while Smith is batting .423 (11-for-26) with five doubles, six RBI and three runs scored in eight career conference playoff games.

Over the last five games, Stock and Reilly have tossed four shutouts while allowing just 11 hits and one earned run over 35.0 innings. Additionally, the duo has recorded 51 strikeouts and issued just six walks.

The second NCAA regional rankings, which were released on Thursday, have a heavy NEWMAC flavor. Springfield is first and WPI is fifth, while Babson and MIT check in at eighth and ninth, respectively.

The Beavers are 22-2 this season when scoring three or more runs.