Pustizzi, Ruppert Highlight Softball’s Doubleheaders on Sunday and Monday

Pustizzi, Ruppert Highlight Softball’s Doubleheaders on Sunday and Monday

CLERMONT, Fla. – The University of the Sciences softball led in two games, and were within one through five and a half innings in another, but the Devils lost back-to-back games on both Sunday and Monday as USciences continued its spring break trip.

In the first game on Sunday against Seton Hill, Gina Pustizzi's second-inning home run gave University of the Sciences (2-7) a 1-0 lead.

That began a two-day stretch in which the sophomore batted .455 (5-for-11), including registering the first three-hit game of her career against Lewis in game one on Monday. She slugged .727 with two runs and two RBIs, and also walked twice for an on-base percentage of .500.

Later on in the bottom of the fourth sophomore Madison LaPlante hit her first career home run to cut a deficit to 3-2, but despite getting four relief innings from Kaitlyn Gaynor in which the junior did not allow an earned run, the Devils fell to the Griffins 6-2 due in large part to four unearned runs crossing – one each in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh.

Gaynor struck out five, while giving up just three hits and one walk in her four innings of work.

Rebecca Colandrea reached base three times by going 1-for-1 with two walks, and Emily Torres also drew two base on balls.

Torres, a freshman, then had her first career multi-hit game, with a double, in the nightcap against University of Mary (4-3); a 4-2 USciences loss in which the Marauders scored just one earned run.

Savanna Ruppert surrendered that lone earned run in six frames, scattering six hits with one walk and one strikeout.

University of the Sciences battled back from a three-run Mary fourth inning with two runs in top of the fifth on Emily Harris' triple and Pustizzi's sacrifice fly, but the Devils could never plate the tying run and the Marauders added a run in the fifth.

In addition to Pustizzi's sacrifice fly, she reached base twice via a hit and a walk. 

USciences best chance at a win came in game one on Monday, when the Devils broke out with five runs in the top of the fourth to erase a three-run Lewis (5-5) first inning, in which all three runs were unearned.

Keiya Moncilovich's walk and Torres' single to lead off the frame eventually led to back-to-back RBI singles by Brooke Chisholm and Harris, the latter scoring two to tie the score.

A pitching change did not keep Pustizzi from working a walk and after the second out was recorded, a Gaynor single kept the frame alive for LaPlante.

She would come through with a two-RBI single to give the Devils a two-run cushion heading into the bottom of the fifth. 

The Lewis bats came alive in the sixth though, when five straight Flyers reached base en route to five two-out runs. 

In addition to their two-RBI base hits, Harris and LaPlante both drew a walk, while Torres had a base on balls in addition to her single.

University of the Sciences closed out a stretch of six games in three days on Monday evening with another game against Saint Anselm (8-5), a team the Devils beat 10-2 on Saturday to begin the trip.

The USciences offense could not duplicate that performance as it lost 5-0, but Ruppert did put together another quality start. The freshman worked around seven hits and four walks to yield just two earned runs in a complete game effort.

She did not allow a runner past second in the first four innings, working two 1-2-3 frames. Saint Anselm finally got on the board with one run in both the fifth and sixth, before the Hawks added three unearned in the seventh.

That concluded a two-day stretch for Ruppert in which she threw 13.0 innings, working around 13 hits and five walks to post a respectable 2.08 ERA. 

Highlighting the offense was Lauren Davis, who doubled and also walked.

University of the Sciences closes out its spring break trip with two more games on Thursday, March 5, taking on Pitt-Johnstown at 2 p.m. before facing Minnesota State Moorhead at 7 p.m.