BRONX, N.Y. – Second-seeded Fordham Rams won its sixth straight Atlantic 10 title Saturday, holding off a late rally by top-seeded Massachusetts to win 6-4 at Bahoshy Field on the campus of Fordham University.
Fordham (33-21) earns the Atlantic 10’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with their title win. The Rams will find out whom they play in the NCAA Regional tomorrow at 10:00 pm on ESPN2.
The contest started as a pitcher’s duel as the two teams were held scoreless for the first three innings. That all changed in the top of the fourth when Paige Rauch launched the ball over the center field wall, giving the Rams the early advantage. Fordham added to their lead after Lauren Quense scored from second on Deanna Burbridge’s RBI single, giving the Rams a 2-0 lead.
Madie Aughinbaugh started in the circle for the Rams, ran into trouble in the bottom of the fourth after Kaycee Carbone singled and Melissa Garcia hit a double to left center. Aughinbaugh, the Most Outstanding Player of the 2018 Championship, struck out the next two batters and got Kaitlyn Stavinoha to fly out to left field to end the inning with no runs scored.
After a hit-by-pitch, a walk, and a single in the top of the fifth, Quense stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Quense extended the Rams lead to 6-0 with a grand slam over the center field wall.
UMass fought back in the bottom half of the inning when Jena Cozza knocked a two-run home run to left center field narrowing the gap to 6-2.
Garcia hit her second double of the afternoon to lead off the bottom of sixth and reached home on a Madison Gimpl single. After two walks, Cozza walked to the plate with the bases loaded and was intentionally walked, bringing home the Minutewomen’s fourth and final run of the evening.
UMass was able to have two base runners reach base in the bottom of the seventh inning but wasn’t able to capitalize as Rauch got Amy Smith and Stavinoha to pop up and end the game.
A 12 member All-Championship team was announced after the title game, honoring 12 individuals who were chosen based on their performance in this week’s Championship.
Manda Cash, Dayton
Kyle Davidson, Dayton
Marta Fuentes, George Washington
Paige Rauch, Fordham
Chelsea Skrepenak, Fordham
Madi Shaw, Fordham
Madie Aughinbaugh, Fordham
Jena Cozza, Massachusetts
Meg Colleran, Massachusetts
Melissa Garcia, Massachusetts
Allie Macfarlane, Saint Louis
Maddie Baalman, Saint Louis