History was made on Wednesday with one out in the top of the 7th inning of a game that was already well in hand, when freshman Jo Clair stepped to the plate and planted a 1-0 fastball from Bridgewater State sophomore Meghan Dunn far beyond the outfield fence.
The Jumbos took a doubleheader from the Bears with relative ease, but Clair was the story of the day. Her home run, the 15th of her first collegiate season, surpassed the school single-season home run record previously held by Courtney Bongiolatti (LA ’05).
Clair needed little time to get adjusted to collegiate softball, and has bashed an incredible 15 home runs in just 28 games, including nine in her past 14. By comparison, the next best total in the NESCAC is four, and Clair has seven more regular-season games to add to her already gaudy total. She is averaging just over one home run per two games, and 15 of her 36 hits have been round-trippers. The Tufts career record, for comparison, is 32, a total that Clair is on pace to more than quadruple by the time she graduates.
But Clair is by no means a one-trick pony. Her batting average is an impressive .409 while her slugging percentage continues to hovers around.989. She also leads the team in walks with 16.
Meanwhile, the Bears did not have the firepower to compete with the Jumbos, silenced by a pair of dominant pitching performances from sophomore Aly Moskowitz and Lauren Giglio.
In the early game, Moskowitz earned a two-hit, complete-game shutout. Bridgewater State put runners on third on two different occasions, but Moskowitz was able to work her way out of trouble each time. And with two on and none out in the bottom of the seventh, Moskowitz induced a line drive to junior shortstop Mira Lieman-Sifry that became a rare game-ending triple play to give Tufts a 5-0 victory.
In the night cap, Giglio was just as dominant, allowing just three hits and one unearned run while striking out seven. She also got eight runs of support, including a three-run homer from sophomore Emily Beinecke, who after battling injuries and illnesses earlier in the season is now hitting .422 after a 4-for-8 day.
Clair was given the second game off, but will undoubtedly be back on the field Friday for the opening game of a vital three-game series with Colby. Tufts cannot afford a single loss on the weekend after their two defeats at the hands of Bowdoin landed them squarely in the middle of a race for the playoffs. The Jumbos open up against the Mules on Spicer Field Friday at 4:00 p.m. before playing a double header Saturday at 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
–By Ethan Sturm