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Cathi Aradi

Defending champ Tufts, Salisbury will meet for NCAA Division III title

Tyler, Texas — Defending national champion Tufts University hit back-to-back homers in a four-run third to roll into its second straight best-of-3 NCAA Division III Championship Series with an 8-0 triumph over Wisconsin-Whitewater on Sunday at Texas-Tyler’s Suddenlink Field. 

NCAA leader and NFCA first team All-American Jo Clair (24 homers — four in Tyler) and Cassie Ruscz went back-to-back for the second time in three games to power the Jumbos to their 22nd straight NCAA tournament victory. Ruscz had three hits, including another homer in the second — for a total of three in Tyler — to put Tufts ahead to stay. Gracie Marshall added two singles.

Unbeaten first team All-America pitcher Allyson Fournier (26-0) did much of the rest in the circle, recording seven strikeouts and allowing just one hit over the first four innings before giving way to Lauren Giglio for the fifth.

The (45-3) Jumbos will face Salisbury University — also 3-0 in Tyler — in the first two games of the Championship Series on Monday. Game times are noon and 2:30 p.m. ET. A third game, if necessary, would be played at noon on Tuesday.

Laura Eichenold had two of the three (39-13) Warhawk hits off Tufts pitchers.

Salisbury 3, St. Thomas 2 (nine innings)

Three first team All-Americans propelled the Sea Gulls into the Championship Series, with Kim Dorsey singling home the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth as Salisbury eliminated St. Thomas in the only extra-inning game of 12 games played so far in Tyler.

Dorsey also tripled and Paige Knussman doubled twice and drove in two runs, while Rachel Johnson tossed all nine innings for Salisbury, recording seven strikeouts to give her 27 in 23 innings in Tyler.

Bianca Peterson and Erin Mussett had two hits apiece in the season finale for the (44-9) Tommies.

For complete details on the NCAA Division III Championship, check out our tournament site here