A stellar performance from rookie pitcher Melissa DellaTorre '14 and a strong offensive showing from the Polar Bears fueled the softball team's first ever NESCAC series win over visiting Tufts last weekend. The team, which won its Friday's contest and split Saturday's doubleheader, improved to 17-14 (6-3 NESCAC) while the Jumbos fell to 14-14 (4-2 NESCAC).

Friday's contest got off to a rocky start as a Tufts home run only three batters in gave the Jumbos a 2-0 lead. But a three-run home run from Gen Barlow '13 put the team ahead and they never looked back. The Polar Bears added two single runs in the second and third innings, courtesy of an Amy Hackett '12 run-scoring single and a Molly Nestor '11 hit that plated Barlow. Caroline Dewar '12 and Nestor each went 2-3 for the Polar Bears, while DellaTorre allowed three earned runs and four strikeouts in the victory.

The team struggled in the first of Saturday's doubleheaders as Tricia Thibodeau '13 was tagged with the loss. An error early on allowed the Jumbos to load the bases as they took a 2-1 lead. An RBI groundout gave the visitors a 3-1 edge in the fourth and continued the rally with a two-run double. First year Hannah Wurgaft had two of the Polar Bears' three hits in the loss.

The team's bats got hot in game two, complemented by an impressive showing from DellaTorre, who allowed just one earned run and struck out eight. A quick start gave the Polar Bears a 2-0 lead in the second inning as Casey Correa '14 plated Hillary Smyth '12 with a single and DellaTorre's RBI scored Nestor. Tufts fought back with a run in the sixth, but could not get the hits to pull ahead as DellaTorre survived a long at-bat in the final inning, putting the Jumbos to rest.

"Winning the Tufts series was incredible," said Nestor. "Tufts is an excellent program grounded in offensive dominance, and has handed us some heartbreaking losses over the years—certainly made these two wins extra sweet."

The team's success over the weekend was highlighted by DellaTorre's performance, which earned her NESCAC Pitcher of the Week and Orient Athlete of the Week (see story, right). With over 23 innings pitched, she posted a 1.83 ERA and held opposing batters to a .231 average, allowing 21 hits and four walks while striking out 28.

"Melissa has truly delivered this season and has proven that she can compete with and shut down the best of the best," said Nestor. "Our team has great faith in our freshmen battery of Melissa and Casey Correa. There is always enormous credit due to the Pitcher of the Week's catcher. Casey has been calling great games and has been defensively sound behind the plate."

Last week saw a strong performance from Dewar as well, who lead the Polar Bear offense with a .545 on-base percentage. She scored four runs, drove in one, walked once, and was 3-4 in stolen base attempts.

Wednesday's games against the University of New England was postponed due to rain. The Polar Bears return to action as they travel to Bates on Friday afternoon, and host the Bobcats in a double header on Saturday starting at noon.

Bowdoin is currently tied for second place in the NESCAC East Division with Tufts, and Bates follows in fourth.

"As postseason plays approaches, taking two from Tufts was huge," said Nestor. "We will take the momentum from these crucial victories into our series against Bates this weekend. Despite its weak conference record, Bates will be ready to play—any NESCAC team will make you pay for any lapse in execution."