MURFREESBORO, N.C. – The University of the Sciences softball team completed a competitive opening weekend, with close losses to No. 16 West Chester, 6-2, and Chowan, 5-3, on Sunday.
Madison LaPlante reached base multiple times in both games, finishing the doubleheader 3-for-6 with two doubles, an RBI and a walk.
Alexandria Jackson worked around nine hits to allow just one earned run to the nationally-ranked Golden Rams in a complete game effort. She did not issue a walk and struck out four.
Savanna Ruppert came on to throw 4.1 scoreless innings of relief against Chowan, working out of multiple jams after yielding four hits and three walks. She struck out three.
USciences (1-3) hung tough with the No. 16 team in the country, scoring a run in both the fourth and fifth to pull within 4-2 after West Chester (5-3) had jumped out to a 4-0 lead through four and a half thanks in large part to three unearned runs.
After having runners reach in both the second and third, LaPlante got University of the Sciences on the board with a two-out double down the left field line.
An Emily Torres single to lead off the fifth helped cut the deficit in half with yet another two-out run. After Brooke Chisholm executed a sacrifice bunt, Emily Harris singled through the right side to make the score 4-2.
Jackson carried that momentum into the top of the sixth with her first 1-2-3 inning but USciences could not capitalize in the bottom half, and West Chester pulled away with two more unearned runs in the top of the seventh.
That was the story of the morning as five of the Golden Rams' six runs were unearned.
LaPlante highlighted the offense, finishing 2-for-3 with the RBI double.
Trailing Chowan (6-6) after a run in the first and a four-run second, USciences got back into the game with three runs in the third, after getting runners into scoring position in both the first and second.
Camille Brown got it started with an infield single and after she stole second, Chisholm walked and a Harris groundout advanced the two to second and third.
A passed ball then allowed Moncilovich to advance to second, which proved important when Rebecca Colandrea singled her home to complete the three-run frame.
Ruppert, who had come in to record the final out of the second, worked a 1-2-3 frame to get the USciences bats right back into the dugout. Brown advanced to third on a walk, wild pitch and groundout, but was stranded.
Ruppert worked around runners reaching scoring position in the fourth, fifth and sixth, but University of the Sciences could only get one runner into scoring position itself, with two outs in the top of the seventh.
In addition to her RBI single and run in the third, Moncilovich reached base three times thanks to two walks.
LaPlante and Brown both reached base twice as well, finishing 1-for-2 with a walk.
Brown also stole a base, in addition to scoring in the third.
University of the Sciences next makes its way down to Clermont, Fla. for spring break, where the Devils will play eight games in six days in the PFX Athletic Games from March 3-8.