COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – A few costly errors and rallies that fell one batter short doomed Ursinus to a sweep at the hands of Muhlenberg in a Centennial Conference softball doubleheader on a chilly Thursday afternoon at Snell Field.
The Bears (10-8, 2-4) made eight errors on the afternoon, which led to eight unearned runs for the Mules in nerve-wracking 8-6 and 5-4 decisions. Ursinus had late opportunities in both contests, but Muhlenberg managed to get timely outs each time to hang on.
Junior Callie Crouse was 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI in the opener, while classmate Faith Carson drove in all four runs for the Bears in the finale, including a bases-clearing triple with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to give the home side a chance.
Game 1: Muhlenberg 8, Ursinus 6
The Bears seized a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second as junior Sammi Donato and Crouse led off with back-to-back singles and moved up a bag on classmate Gabrielle Manto's sacrifice. Senior Rachel Hyman sliced a two-run single into shallow right field to plate both and stake senior ace Kaitlyn Willis to an early advantage.
After Muhlenberg opened the third with a base hit, an error opened the floodgates for a big inning. An RBI single by Ariana Feliziani trimmed the Ursinus lead in half, and a passed ball three batters later squared the score. Karissa Astrella's RBI single with the bases loaded put the visitors ahead and Kristy Selby chased Willis with a two-run single to left center.
Freshman Gabby Ilyes came on for her second appearance of the season and, after allowing a pair of hits to reload the bags, got a line-drive double play to get out of the inning.
Ursinus got right back in it in the bottom half. After Donato lined into a twin killing of her own with the bases loaded, Crouse lofted a double into the right-center field gap to score a pair and Manto bounced a base hit through the left side to tie it at 5.
Muhlenberg answered with three more in its half of the fourth, helped along by a trio of Ursinus errors.
The Bears' big chance came in the sixth, when Hyman worked a leadoff walk and Willis and freshman Morgan Comfort produced consecutive singles to load the bases. Junior Kayla Quinn was hit by a pitch to force in a run, but back-to-back force plays to second base and a fly out to right got the Mules out of the jam.
Willis was charged with five runs – three earned – on six hits. She struck out one and did not walk a batter.
Game 2: Muhlenberg 5, Ursinus 4
Comfort got the start on the mound and gave herself some help in the bottom of the first, legging out a triple to right-center to lead off the frame. She later scored on Carson's single through the right side.
Muhlenberg pulled even on Sweeney's two-out single up the middle in the second, and the pitchers settled from there.
Neither team scored until the sixth, when Selby plated the go-ahead run with a one-out single to center. Amelia Shelley followed with an RBI single, and Sweeney tacked on another with a two-out slicer to left-center.
The Mules added another in the seventh and appeared well on their way to an easy win as Haley Fedak struck out Hyman looking to open the seventh. But an error gave the Bears an opening, and they took it.
With two outs and a runner on first, Quinn worked a walk, and freshman Heather Lazer kept the inning alive with an infield single. Carson then roped a triple down the right-field line, bringing all three runners home and slicing the deficit to 5-4. Willis hit a grounder to third base, where the Muhlenberg infielder bobbled the ball briefly before recovering to make the game-ending throw to first.
Carson finished 2-for-4 with four RBI, and Lazer went 2-for-4 with a run.
Comfort (5-3) allowed four runs – two earned – on eight hits with a strikeout. Fedak conceded seven hits and four runs – three of them unearned – with seven strikeouts and two walks.
The Bears head to Swarthmore on Saturday for a CC doubleheader.