CLERMONT, Fla. – The University of the Sciences softball team ended its spring break trip in thrilling fashion last Thursday, as Gina Pustizzi's walk-off grand slam capped an eight-run seventh inning for an exhilarating 13-10 comeback triumph over Pitt-Johnstown.
The Devils (3-9) then took a lead in the nightcap against Minnesota State Moorhead (6-10), only to have the Dragons comeback for an eventual 7-2 win.
USciences jumped out to an early 4-0 lead through two innings against Pitt-Johnstown, thanks to Lauren Davis' first inning sacrifice fly and back-to-back RBI singles by Brooke Chisholm and Emily Harris, the latter of which scored two runs. Notably, it was Chisholm that scored on Davis' sacrifice fly in the first after leading off with a single.
Starting pitcher Kaitlyn Gaynor was cruising through four innings, limiting Pitt-Johnstown to just three hits before the Mountain Cats took advantage of an error to score two unearned runs in a three-run fifth.
University of the Sciences came right back with an unearned run of its own in the bottom half though and after a scoreless sixth, the game entered the seventh inning with the Devils up 5-3.
The first seven Mountain Cats that came to the plate in the top of the seventh reached base, with the benefit of an error, leading to five runs and a pitching change.
Alexandria Jackson did well to limit the damage to only two more runs, but at that point Pitt-Johnstown held the comfortable 10-5 advantage.
The bottom half of the frame began the exact same way, with the first seven Devils reaching. After Davis' leadoff walk, Jackson singled in her only at-bat of the game.
It was then USciences taking advantage of an error to load the bases, and Chisholm was hit by a pitch to pull the Devils within one.
Pitt-Johnstown (0-5) finally got he first out of the inning, only to have Pustizzi come to the plate and end the game with one swing of the bat.
It was the sophomore's second home run of the season, resulting in her second four-RBI game of the year.
Chisholm came in to score her third run on the homer, as she finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two stolen bases.
Davis was a perfect 2-for-2 with two with a walk and a run, in addition to the sacrifice fly.
In addition to her first career collegiate hit, Elie also walked.
In the nightcap against Minnesota State Moorhead, it was freshman Keiya Moncilovich's first career home run that put University of the Sciences on top 1-0 in the top of the second.
Minnesota State then tied it with a run of its own in the bottom half, before scoring two unearned runs in the third in and two more in the fifth to help the Dragons pull away.
Davis reached base twice in the setback as well to finish the day 3-for-4 with two walks.
University of the Sciences plays both its Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) and home-opener this Saturday, March 17, when the Devils host Dominican for a doubleheader at 12 p.m.