Trinity Softball Draws Williams In NESCAC Tournament Opener Friday In Maine

Trinity Softball Draws Williams In NESCAC Tournament Opener Friday In Maine

Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College softball team, which finished the 2017 regular season with a 19-13 record and tied Tufts for second place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) East with an 8-4 division mark, has qualified for the league championship tournament for the seventh time and the second year in a row.  The Bantams, coached by Caitlin Hitchcock (15th Season), begin the post-season this weekend against NESCAC West Division leader Williams College in the opening round of the NESCAC Championship Tournament on Friday, May 5 at 5 p.m. at Bowdoin College's Pickard Softball Diamond.  NESCAC East Division winner Bowdoin will host NESCAC West Runner-Up Amherst at 2:30 p.m. on Friday in the other opening game. The tournament is a four-team, double-elimination format from May 5 to 7 with the winner earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.

Heading into the final weekend of regular-season play, Trinity needed to win one of a three-game road series at Colby to qualify for the NESCAC Tournament and to win at least one more game in its series than Bowdoin in its series against Bates to host the event. With the Bantams' 1-0 victory over the Mules on Friday, Trinity clinched at least a tie with Tufts and earned the No. 2 seed due to a three-game sweep of the Jumbos in the regular-season series. Bowdoin swept Bates and Trinity lost twice to Colby on Saturday, as the Polar Bears secured the top seed in the NESCAC East with a 9-3 division record.  Trinity seeks revenge against the Ephs Friday for a 10-2 setback in last season's NESCAC Tourney opener.  The Bantams dropped a 13-4 game against Amherst in March, and defeated Bowdoin, 7-3, and lost to the Polar Bears, 9-1, and, 9-3, in April to give them a 1-3 mark against the tournament field this weekend.

Trinity freshman LHP Lindsay Golia (North Branford, Conn.) tossed a four-hit shutout with three strikeouts in the 1-0 triumph at Colby, while junior OF Erica Merullo (Lynnfield, Mass.) opened the game with a single and scored the lone run of the game on a single by sophomore C Nicole Towner (Erie, Colo.).  Towner was 2-for-3 in on Friday, while first-year OF Nikki Andersen (Dunbarton, N.H.) was 3-for-3 in a 7-6 loss to the Mules and had one of two Bantams hits in a 4-0 loss to them on Saturday.  Junior captain 2B Michelle Treglia (Fairfield, Conn.) had a double, a triple, a run, and three RBI in the 7-6 loss for the Bantams.

Offensively, Treglia leads the Bantams with 37 hits in 106 at-bats for a .349 average to go with 23 runs, eight extra-base hits, and 22 RBI.  Sophomore SS Courtney Erickson (Everett, Mass.), an All-NESCAC First Team honoree in 2016, is batting .327 with 28 runs, 12 doubles (3rd in NESCAC), two triples, a tame-high four homers, and 27 RBI, while junior CF Meaghan Race (Grand Rapids, Mich.) is hitting .319,  Andersen has a .315 batting average, and Towner has driven in 27 runs with a .300 average to give the Bantams five starters batting averaging at .300.  Merullo is tied for fourth in the league in both runs (29) and stolen bases (10), while first-year 1B Natalie Bruno (Stratham, N.H.) is hitting .287 with three homers and 22 RBI, and junior 3B Katie Haghdan (Pelham, N.H.) is at .281 with eight doubles and 20 RBI.  Golia has been a workhorse in the circle for Trinity, leading the NESCAC in saves with three and ranking among the top four in the conference in appearances, starts, wins, complete games, and innings pitched with a 2.33 ERA and 48 strikeouts.  Junior RHP Rachael Smith (Winchester, Mass.) is 8-5 with a 5.32 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 80.1 innings of work for the Bantams this spring.

The defending NESCAC Champion Williams College Ephs owns a 4-2 edge over the Trinity all-time in this tournament.  Williams has a combination of power and speed, as it leads the league in home runs (36), is tied for the league lead in runs scored (201), and ranks second in the conference in slugging percentage (.496) and stolen bases (42) this year. Sophomore Mackenzie Murphy (Diablo, Calif.) is a dual threat the Ephs. She is batting .400 at the plate and owns nine wins in the circle. First-year Rebecca Duncan (Simi Valley, Calif.) is the Ephs' leader in the circle, making 23 appearances with 12 wins and a 1.90 ERA.

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