PHILADELPHIA – The University of the Sciences softball team erased deficits in both games, and salvaged a doubleheader split with a walk-off 7-6 win in the ninth inning of game two in its Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) opening series against Dominican – the third ranked team in the CACC Preseason Poll – on Saturday afternoon at McNeil Family Field.
Entering the ninth inning tied at 5-5 with the international rule in effect, Dominican immediately took advantage of the runner on second with zero outs with a lead-off single.
After a sacrifice bunt, Kaitlyn Gaynor completed a complete-game nine-inning effort with consecutive pop-ups to keep USciences (4-10, 1-1 CACC) within one.
She then made a heads-up running play by attempting to advance to second on Keiya Moncilovich's fly out in right field's foul territory, and in doing so drew an obstruction call on Dominican.
This proved important when an error was committed on the next play, allowing Gaynor to come all the way around from second for the walk-off triumph.
Gaynor gave up eight hits in the complete-game effort, with just four of the six runs counting as earned. She struck out seven and walked just two.
Brooke Chisholm had two hits in both games, finishing the doubleheader 4-for-9, one of which was an RBI single in a three-run fourth inning in the nightcap that gave USciences its first lead of the afternoon.
Brittany Rickard also had two hits and an RBI in the nightcap, driving in the tying run in a two-run second.
Dominican (4-8, 1-1) took a second first-inning lead with two runs right off the bat in the nightcap, but University of the Sciences came right back to tie it on RBI base-hits by Moncilovich and Rickard.
Lauren Davis led off with a double and after a sacrifice bunt by Gaynor, Moncilovich doubled to right field. The second out was recorded, but Rickard came through with the two-out single to tie the score.
Dominican came right back with two in the top of the third, but this time University of the Sciences answered with three in the fourth.
After a quick opening out, Torres walked and Rickard and LaPlante loaded the bases with back-to-back singles.
A Chisholm single got the Devils within one but a second out was then recorded.
Gina Pustizzi came through with the two-out single to center field though, putting of USciences on top 5-4.
Again Dominican had the response, tying the score immediately in its next at-bat, and the game remained tied despite University of the Sciences advancing a runner into scoring position in four straight at-bats.
In game one Dominican scored three runs, two of which unearned, and the Devils stranded four runners in scoring position, helping the Chargers to a 3-0 lead through three and a half.
USciences chipped away with one in the bottom of the fourth, with Torres extending the frame on a two-out walk. She then came around to score on a throwing error after a Camille Brown single.
After starter Savanna Ruppert stranded the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, Emily Harris led off the bottom half with a walk and following the first out, back-to-back Dominican errors loaded the bases.
A pitching change did not prevent Moncilovich from working a base on balls to cut the deficit to one, and Sara Pietropola tied the score at 3-3 with an RBI groundout.
University of the Sciences got the first two outs of the sixth, but Dominican strung together a two-out double, a walk, and another two-out double to quickly take the lead back, 5-3.
The Devils were not able to get a runner in scoring position in either the sixth or seventh.
Harris' fifth inning walk was one of two in game one for the senior, and she added a hit to reach base three times.
Moncilovich also walked twice.
Ruppert surrendered just the three earned runs on six hits, and she struck out a season-high six against five walks.
University of the Sciences is right back at McNeil Family Field tomorrow, when it hosts Shippensburg for a doubleheader at 1 p.m.