Rich Paulhus calls today a proud moment for his Framingham State College softball team.
His Rams (21-19) will play top-seeded Rhode Island College (37-5) in the first round of the double-elimination NCAA Division 3 Northeast Regional in Providence this morning at 10. It is the first-ever NCAA tournament apperance for Framingham State, which clinched its automatic berth with a thrilling 1-0 win over Bridgewater State in last week's MASCAC final.
In just its third year as a varsity program, Wellesley (22-12) will also be making its inaugural appearance in the tournament. Wellesley, which won the NEWMAC Championship with a 1-0 win over Babson, is the third seed and will play Misericordia (PA) at 2.
Playing in its third conference final in four years, Framingham State bounced back from a 7-1 loss last Sunday to capture the MASCAC title on senior DeAnna Curtis's two-hit shutout.
Curtis was dominant in the tournament, compiling a 3-0 record with a .84 ERA, fanning 17 batters in 25 innings.
"The defense was awesome, DeAnna mixed up her pitchers and we held on," said Paulhus, the fifth-year head coach. "Hopefully, this group has helped put the Framingham State program on the map."
The unquestioned leader is senior shortstop Christina Sullivan, who owns all of the program's hitting records and has not missed a game in four years.
Freshman Megan Wood is hitting a robust .391 for Wellesley while junior co-captain Kara Wong of Milford has put together an outstanding final season. The team's starting catcher leads the squad in RBI (23), is tied for first in home runs (4) while batting .370.
In its first-ever appearance in the ECAC tournament, the Brandeis women's softball team staged a seventh-inning rally yesterday to top Rivier College, 2-1 in Nashua, N.H. The Judges trailed 1-0 entering the seventh inning, but plated the tying and go-ahead runs on infield errors to forge ahead, 2-1.
Freshman Emily Vaillette went the distance her sixth win of the season, a school record, striking out five and walking two and allowing three hits. Brandeis will play Western Connecticut (22-19) the semifinals of the double-elimination tournament Saturday at host Roger Williams College in Bristol, R.I. Western Connecticut eliminated Lasell of Newton yesterday, 16-0.
-- Craig Larson
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