COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College softball team rode another dominant effort from junior pitcher Kaitlyn Willis to its first victory over Haverford in four years Tuesday, a 7-1 defeat of the defending champions in the opener of their Centennial Conference doubleheader. The Fords went wild in the second game, hammering two home runs en route to a 13-9 victory and a split.
With the split, combined with a Gettysburg sweep of Franklin & Marshall and a Muhlenberg split against Dickinson, Ursinus (13-17, 5-7) stands a game back of the Diplomats and Mules for the fourth and final CC playoff berth.
Game 1: Ursinus 7, Haverford 1
The Bears got on the board quickly, using some two-out magic as sophomore Sammi Donato bounced a seeing-eye single through the right side to score Garritano, who had doubled.
Haverford helped Ursinus score twice more in the third. With the bases loaded and two outs, a wild pitch allowed the lead runner to score, and an errant return by the catcher brought home a second run on the same play.
Willis' only trouble spot came in the fourth, when the Fords started with three consecutive hits to cut the lead to 3-1 and place runners on the corners with nobody out. But Willis came up with her best stuff to escape further damage, getting a sacrifice bunt, a shallow fly to left, and an infield pop-up.
The Bears picked up two more two-out runs in the bottom half. Quinn laced a base just under the glove of the Haverford center fielder's diving effort and, after stealing second, dashed home on a throwing error by the third baseman. Another Fords' error, their fourth of the game, led to two extra runs in the sixth.
Willis allowed one earned run in a complete game for the fourth time in six appearances. She scattered six hits and struck out two, walking one and hitting another.
The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak to Haverford.
Game 2: Haverford 13, Ursinus 9
The Bears' offense continued to hum, but Haverford's bats came to life with a vengeance in the nightcap. Ursinus had no answer for Julia Blake and Jessica Koshinski, who combined to go 7-for-8 with two home runs, eight RBI, and eight runs scored.
Blake's three-run blast banged off the scoreboard above the left-center field fence and made it 4-0 Fords in the top of the second. Ursinus got a run back when Willis was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Trailing 5-1, the Bears roared back to tie the contest in the bottom of the third. Back-to-back hits by Quinn and Garritano started the rally, and Quinn smartly kept running around third to score on a fielder's choice grounder by Donato. After a single by freshman Faith Carson, sophomore Gabrielle Manto and Beebe produced consecutive doubles – Beebe's of the two-run variety – to storm into a 5-all deadlock.
Haverford wrested the lead back for good with a three-run fourth, highlighted by Koshinski's two-run single. Rachel Wolfson added a two-run single in the fifth and Koshinski sent a big fly over the wall in left center to make it 13-6 in the top of the seventh.
Down to their final out, the Bears had four consecutive batters reach base, scoring three times on a two-RBI double by Crouse and a fielding error, before Briana Quinn came in for the final out.
Blake finished 4-for-4 with three RBI and five runs, while Koshinski was 3-for-4 with three runs and five RBI.
Beebe led the Bears' attack, going 3-for-4 with a run and two RBI. Willis finished 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI, while Manto and Garritano were each 2-for-4 with an RBI. Carson had two hits and scored two runs, and Crouse drove in a pair.
Senior Devan Cinalli (0-2) took the loss, but only one of the four runs she surrendered in relief was earned. Willis was charged with four runs on three hits in 2.1 innings.
The Bears go to Franklin & Marshall for a critical CC showdown on Saturday.