SALEM, Va. — The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Undefeated two-time defending national champion Tufts University scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning to defeat Alma, 3-0, in the nightcap of day 1 at the NCAA Division III Championship at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Va.
The (47-0) Jumbos have now won 49 straight games and 80 of their last 81, dating back to the final two games of last season. Tufts will face the last team to beat them, last year’s NCAA runner-up Salisbury, in Friday’s fourth game at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The Sea Gulls defeated DePauw, 2-1, in their opening game on Thursday. Elsewhere, Texas-Tyler topped Kean, 1-0, and Linfield rolled past Alfred, 8-0 in five innings.
Two-time reigning NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player Allyson Fournier allowed five hits and struck out 12 for Tufts to win a pitcher’s duel with Alma’s Morgan Stratton (also five hits and 12 strikeouts, plus three unearned runs allowed).
In the third, Michelle Cooprider doubled home Samantha Siciliano, who had reached on a fielding error, before Carrie Copacino was hit by a pitch and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Christina Raso grounded out to plate Cooprider and NFCA second team All-America first baseman Cassie Ruscz drove in the Jumbos’ third run with a single to right.
Four-time first team All-American Fournier did the rest, allowing just two hits over the final four innings and retiring 12 of the final 14 batters in order.
Stratton was the hard-luck loser for the (30-16) Scots after an equally brilliant performance in the circle, throwing 74 of her 112 pitches for strikes. After Tufts scored, Stratton struck out eight of her final 10 batters, including the side in the fifth and sixth.
Lea Lusk had two of Alma’s five hits, while Cooprider and Ruscz collected two hits apiece for the Jumbos.
Salisbury 2, DePauw 1
All-American Kim Dorsey drove in the go-ahead run with two outs in the sixth inning, and the (36-6) Sea Gulls edged DePauw.
Dorsey dropped a soft liner into left to score speedy Angela Malgieri from second base. Malgieri had reached on an error and took second when the throw on Rachel Spadin’s full-count bunt sailed over the first baseman’s head.
Fellow All-American Rachel Johnson (seven strikeouts) struck two of three batters in the seventh to wrap up her two-hitter. Paige Knussman singled home Katie Sebbane with Salisbury’s first run in the third.
DePauw’s Taylor Golden homered to left in the second for the (35-15) Tigers’ lone run, while Kahla Nolan and Emma Baldwin teamed to allow just three hits in the defeat.
Linfield 8, Alfred 0 (five innings)
McKenna Spieth and Erin Tauscher both homered and six different Wildcat players logged a hit in a game stopped by the eight-run rule.
Tauscher and Cheyenne Fletcher had two hits apiece, while Montana McNealy and Brooke Chapman teamed on the shutout for Linfield (38-13).
Alfred’s best scoring chance came in the fourth, when it loaded the bases. But McNealy fanned Shannon Schaefer and caught a line drive hit by Alyson Hampton to keep the (40-6) Saxons off the scoreboard.
Texas-Tyler 1, Kean 0
Jackie Mendez had two hits and the (48-3) Patriots benefitted from three Kean errors in the fifth to win their opener after a two-hour rain delay.
Christa Hartnett had an one-out bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error. After Whitney Burt popped out to second, Shelby Shelton reached on a fielding error that allowed Hartnett to score. Kelsie Batten (two walks, three strikeouts) allowed two hits over six innings for her 28th win.
All-American Courtney Yard threw 71 of 111 pitches for strikes, walked just one and fanned five Patriot batters in a four-hitter in the loss. Tonianne DeMatteo and Tiffany Varriello had the (30-14-1) Cougars two singles.
In Friday’s other three games, Kean plays Alfred (11 a.m.) and DePauw faces Alma (1:30 p.m.) in a pair of elimination games, while Texas-Tyler takes on Linfield at 4 p.m. in a matchup of day 1 winners.