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DIII Championship: Down to Three as Gustavus Eliminates Tufts

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Senior pitcher Erin Trubenbach threw a three-hit shutout to help Gustavus Adolphus College stay alive in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship with a 5-0 win over Tufts University at Montclair State University on Sunday night. 

Gustavus Adolphus (42-8), which has now scored 20 runs in four tournament games, never looked back after scoring a run in the top of the first inning. Senior centerfielder Emily Klein, who was 2-of-3 at the plate, opened the game with a single to center. After Klein stole second and advanced to third on a ground out, she scored on a sacrifice fly by senior shortstop Rachael Click, on her three RBIs in the game. 

The Golden Gusties opened the game up in the fifth inning with three more runs. The big blow in the inning coming on a two-run double to center field by Click, who came all the way around to score after an errant relay throw by junior shortstop Casey Sullivan rolled all the way to the backstop. 

Trunbenbach, a righthander, struck out four batters and did not allow a walk in the complete-game victory. Sophomore first baseman Emily Wendorff was also 2-for-3 in the game for Gustavus Adolphus, which collected nine hits. 

Tufts (44-3), which started the year on a 36-game winning streak, was eliminated from the tournament with its only two shutout loses of the season. The two wins by the Jumbos in the championship finals was the most by a New England Region representative since 2001, when Wheaton (Mass.) College went 2-2. Since 2001, New England teams had gone a combined 1-14. 

It was the third straight shutout in the tournament and sixth overall in 12 games played so far. 

Gustavus Adolphus will now face Coe College on Monday at noon with the winner meeting Messiah College in the championship round at 2:30 p.m.