BANGOR, Maine – One of the most successful seasons in Brandeis University softball history came to an end today as the Judges came up on the short end of a pair of 2-0 decisions today at the NCAA Division III Regional championship at Husson University. The third-seeded Judges fell to #5 seed Tufts in their opener in the winners' bracket, then dropped their first elimination game to the host and top-seeded Eagles in the final game of the day. With the loss, the Judges finish the campaign with a 14-3 record.
GAME 1: Tufts 2, Brandeis 0
The Judges and Jumbos met for the third time this season after having split a doubleheader on May 2. Reminiscent of those two games, the squad engaged in a pitcher's duel. Tufts emerged with the win, 2-0, to advance to the winners' bracket, while Brandeis moved on to an elimination contest against host Husson later in the day.
The big blow of the game came from Tufts' leadoff hitter, CF Michelle Adelman, who drove an offering from Brandeis junior Sydney Goldman (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) over the centerfield fence. The Jumbos added an insurance run in the second on an RBI double by 3B Rachel Moore with two outs in the second.
Brandeis was unable to get a runner past second base against the Tufts pitchers. Junior 3B Marley Felder (Miami, Fla./American Heritage School) was responsible for three of the team's four hits, and twice the Judges moved her into scoring position but no further. Junior DP Alyssa Renskers (Duarte, Calif./Duarte) added a two-out single in the seventh after rookie RF Alex Cohen (West Palm Beach, Fla./The Benjamin School) had drawn a leadoff walk, but the Jumbos shut the door for the win.
Brandeis junior Goldman was the tough-luck loser, falling to 7-1 on the season. She allowed just four hits in six innings of work for her eighth complete game of the season. She struck out four and walked just one, throwing just 65 pitches, 43 for strikes. It was her first loss since 2020.
Tufts senior Kristina Haghdan earned the win in the circle, allowing two hits over the first five innings. She struck out four and did not walk a batter. Kristi Van Meter earned a save by keeping the Judges off the board for the final two innings. She allowed two hits and a walk, striking out two.
GAME 2: Husson 2, Brandeis 0
In their second pitchers' duel of the day, the Judges once again came up on the wrong end of the scoreboard against host and top-seeded Husson, falling by another 2-0 score. Despite the teams being even with four hits apiece, a two-run second inning for the Eagles proved to be the difference.
In the decisive inning, Husson 1B Morgan Coleman led off with a double, and Eagle pitcher Jen Jones followed with a two-bagger of her own to open the scoring. Jones got bunted to third, and after a hit batter, Husson LF Katie Raymond hit a ball deep but foul to left field. Brandeis senior Bridget Cifuni (Georgetown, Mass./Brooks School) made a fine catch on the play, but it allowed Jones to score from third when the Judges tried to get the runner advancing from first.
The Judges had a chance to get those runs back in the bottom of the second, loading the bases with one out on a walk, and single by 3B Haley Nash (Delmar, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) and another walk. Jones bounced back by inducing a pair of infield pops to end the threat.
The pitchers took over from there, with no runners getting past second base the rest of the way. Jones retired 11 of the next 12 hitters until a one-out double by Cohen in the sixth, while Cohen and Goldman retired 12 of the last 15 Husson hitters. Unfortunately, Brandeis could not advance Cohen beyond second in the sixth, as they were shut out for just the second time all season.
Cohen suffered the loss after allowing three hits and two runs in 3.1 innings. She struck out two, walked one and hit a batter, dropping to 3-2 on the season. Goldman, who threw a complete game in the opener, allowed just one hit in her 3.2 innings, whiffing five without a walk. Jones improved to 14-0 on the campaign, going the distance with four hits and three strikeouts. She walked two.
Offensively, Jones was the game's only multiple hitter, going 2-3 with an RBI, run scored and a double.
Despite the losses, the Judges completed only their third trip to the NCAA tournament in program history. Goldman finished her campaign with school records for lowest ERA (1.23, minimum 40 IP) and strikeouts per seven innings (10.32). Brandeis will return all but one letter-winner next season.