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DIII Championship: Tufts Gains Respect with 3-1 Victory

 Whether it was looking for respect or not, Tufts earned it. Until today, a New England team hasn't won a game at the Division III national championship since 2004. With a 3-1 victory over Cortland State, Tufts has brought that slump to a decisive end. 

"We still feel like the underdogs, even at 43-1. Sometimes our region doesn't get as much respect as others like the Midwest, since we don't have the powerhouses. I don't think we're necessarily here looking for respect, because we feel like we can play with everyone here," Tufts catcher Cara Hovhanessian said. 

With the help of a Cortland State error in the first inning, Tufts jumped on top early with a 1-0 lead. After Laura Chapman doubled to right center and then moved to third on a bunt single by Samantha Kuhles, she scored on an infield error. 

Cortland State would battle back in the bottom half of the fourth. Emily Ringen had a one-out single, and pinch runner Lexi Deming moved around the bases with the help of a passed ball and a single. Deming would score on a fielder's choice by Jessica Harman 

What looked like a potential extra-inning affair turned into a Tufts victory with a two-run sixth inning. The Jumbos took the lead for good when Hovhanessian reached on a single, followed by a double by Roni Herbst and then a single to left by shortstop Casey Sullivan. 

Izzie Santone held Cortland to just the one unearned run on seven hits, while second team all-American Katie Finch took the loss for the Red Dragons. Tufts will face the winner of Coe and Salisbury tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., while Cortland State will battle for its life in an elimination game versus the loser at 1:30.