WORCESTER, Mass. - Framingham State University was tabbed the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference softball tournament champions for the second consecutive year on Sunday as tournament MVP Kelsi Gunarathne (North Providence, R.I.) pitched a complete-game shutout with a career-high 13 strikeouts to help the second seeded Rams prevail 1-0 over the third seeded Westfield State University Owls.
The Owls complete their season with an overall record of 17-20 while the Rams improve to 24-14.
Framingham State came close to scoring a run in the bottom of the second inning when they saw back-to-back singles from Grace Caughey (Mendon, Mass.) and Kayla Finnachiaro (Natick, Mass.) and loaded the bases with a Westfield State fielding error.
However, Westfield's starting pitcher Emily Arredondo (Woburn, Mass.) retired the side with a foul out a groundout to leave three Rams stranded.
The Owls saw a chance to score in the top of the fifth inning when Angelica Banning (East Granby, Conn.) began the inning with a double to centerfield. She stole third with two outs on the board, but Gunarathne struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Gunarathne pitched her third no-hitter inning in the top of the seventh to give Framingham the chance at the win in the bottom half of the inning.
With one out on the board, Camille Desrochers (Westford, Mass.) singled up the middle to reach base. Next up, Dayna Marchant (East Bridgewater, Mass.) hit home the game-winning run on an RBI double to left center.
Gunarathne pitched a complete-game shutout and allowed just four hits. She walked no batters and struck out more than half of the batters she faced with a career-high 13 K's.
Marchant batted 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI double. Finnachiaro reached base three times on a single, double, and walk.
Westfield State's Banning accounted for half of the Owls' hits with two. She and Lindsay Cordopatri (Walpole, Mass.) each stole a base from the Rams. Mycala Moody (North Attleboro, Mass.) and Desrochers swiped a base from the Owls.
Westfield State's Arrendondo pitched four innings while reliever Emily Woodworth (Marlborough, Mass.) suffered the loss in 2 1/3 innings pitched.
With the win, the Rams will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. The pairings will be announced tomorrow at 1 p.m. on the NCAA Selection Show.