HADLEY, Mass. – The Amherst softball team claimed the third spot in the West Division and will battle Bowdoin in their opening game at the 2019 NESCAC Softball Championship on Saturday, May 4th, with first pitch at 12:00 PM.
This year's championship is set for May 3-5 with Tufts University serving as the hosts. The top four teams in each division qualified for the tournament and they will play a single-elimination format. The NESCAC Champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.
Every game of the 2019 NESCAC Softball Championship will be streamed on the Northeast Sports Network (NSN) page and the broadcasts can also be seen on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire. Search for and download the 'NESCAC Network' channel.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Amherst returned from their Florida trip with a record of 8-2 after starting out their 2019 campaign on a five game win streak. They opened their West Division action with a series sweep over Wesleyan, winning 8-5 in the first game before shutting out the Cardinals in the remaining two games (5-0, 4-0).
The Mammoths split their doubleheader against Springfield on the road before returning to Amherst Softball Field to steal 10-2 and 7-0 triumphs over Trinity (Conn.), securing their fifth shutout on the season. The Mammoths swept their series versus Middlebury to close the regular season and grab the No. 3 seed after dropping to Hamilton and Williams in their respective series. Senior Sammy Salustri '19 paced the Purple & White hitting for .409, including three games where she had four singles in each.
SETTING THE SCENE
Amherst is making its fourth consecutive appearance and eighth overall in the tournament. The NESCAC postseason series between the Mammoths and Bowdoin is knotted up at 3-3. The two teams last met in Game 5 of the 2018 championship with the Polar Bears earning a 2-1 win to even the series. Bowdoin has qualified for the NESCAC Championship for the seventh time in eight years and third straight season
- The Mammoths are hitting .308, slugging for .369 with 252 hits and 121 RBIs.
- They lead the NESCAC in stolen bases with 92 total.
- The pitching corps of Lorena Ukanwa '19, Talia Bloxham '22 and Danica Peterson '22 combined for a 2.64 ERA while allowing the fewest hits among NESCAC teams this season (175).
- The Polar Bears enter the championship with a 13-game win streak and are hitting .314 while slugging .471.
- They have hit 20 home runs this season, ranking them second in the league.
- The pitching staff has a 2.64 ERA and the second most strikeouts in the conference at 193.
- The hosts went 10-2 in conference play and have won seven of their final nine regular-season contests.
- They are batting .318 as a team and averaging just under six runs a game.
- The Jumbo pitchers rank second in the conference with a 1.95 ERA and lead the league in strikeouts (198).
- The Panthers are swinging for a .326 average and are tied for the league lead in slugging percentage (.472).
- They average 6.7 runs per game and were swept by Amherst in their final West Division series.
- Melanie Mandell boasts a .473 average on 44 hits and four home runs to lead Middlebury.
- The Ephs are the three-time defending NESCAC Champion, earning the top spot after going undefeated in the west.
- They enter the championship riding a school-record tying 20-game win streak, batting .302 with a conference-best 33 home runs and tied for first In the league for slugging percentage (.472).
- The Ephs pitchers lead the NESCAC with a 1.85 ERA and have issues a league-low 65 walks.
- The Bobcats are swinging for .277 this season with a slugging average of .351.
- Andrea Russo leads the team with 30 hits through 89 at bats (.337).
- Through 221 innings, the Bobcats have combined for a 3.36 ERA.
- The Continentals are making their first appearance in the NESCAC Championship Tournament in program history under first-year head coach Stephanie Hartquist, having won nine of their last 12 games.
- Hamilton leads the conference in hitting with a .345 average and are slugging .469 this season.
- With an average of 6.8 runs per game, the pitching staff has held a 3.00 ERA on the defensive end.
- Trinity won four out of their last five conference games to close out their NESCAC schedule.
- The Bantams are batting .305 with 288 total hits and are slugging .439.
- Samantha Witmer leads the team with 41 hits, 23 runs, and 22 RBIs with a batting average of .446.
Day 1 - Friday, May 3
Hosted by Tufts
Game 1 - Tufts (East #1) vs. Middlebury (West #4) - 2:30 p.m.
Game 2 - Williams (West #1) vs. Bates (East #4) - 5:00 p.m.
Day 2 - Saturday, May 4
Hosted by Tufts
Game 3 - Hamilton (West #2) vs. Trinity (East #3) - 9:30 a.m.
Game 4 - Bowdoin (East #2) vs. Amherst (West #3) - 12 p.m.
Game 5 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 3 - 2:30 p.m.
Game 6 - Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 4 - 5 p.m.
Day 3 - Sunday, May 5
Hosted by Tufts
Game 7 - Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 - 10 a.m.