SWARTHMORE, Pa. – The Ursinus College softball team saw an extra-inning victory elude its grasp in the opener of Saturday's Centennial Conference doubleheader at Swarthmore, which the Garnet swept via a five-run fifth inning that broke a deadlock in the nightcap.
Ursinus (10-10, 2-6) took a 3-2 lead on a clutch, two-out RBI single by junior Gabrielle Manto in the top of the eighth inning and had two outs in the bottom half, but Frankie Ponziani walked it off for the Garnet with a two-run double to the gap in left-center.
Ponziani was 5-for-7 with five RBI on the day for the Garnet (13-5, 3-1).
Junior Faith Carson was dialed in at the plate all afternoon, finishing the twin bill 5-for-7 with three RBI and two runs scored.
Game 1: Swarthmore 4, Ursinus 3 (8)
The Bears drew first blood in the top of the first, as junior Kayla Quinn doubled with one out and eventually scored on a passed ball.
Ponziani's RBI single knotted the affair in the second, and Swarthmore went ahead 2-1 on a bunt single in the fourth. Junior Callie Crouse tied it once more on a two-out RBI single through the left side in the top of the sixth, setting up the wild finish.
Carson was hit by a pitch to lead off the eighth and moved to second on junior Sammi Donato's sacrifice. After Crouse grounded out, Manto sent a base hit bounding through the left side to plate Carson with the potential winning run.
Unfortunately for the Bears, Swarthmore had one card left to play. Emilie Morse singled to open the eighth and went to second on Marisa Mancini's one-out base hit. After senior Kaitlyn Willis recorded the second out on an infield pop-up, Ponziani came up huge with a double that plated Morse and Mancini with the winning run.
Carson was 2-for-3 with a run, and Manto went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI to lead the Ursinus offense.
Willis did her best to work around 13 Garnet hits, striking out five without a walk in another complete game.
Game 2: Swarthmore 8, Ursinus 5
Ursinus recovered quickly from the bitter opening defeat, putting a three-spot on the board in the first inning. Carson delivered a two-run single to center to open the scoring and came around on a Swarthmore error to stake the visitors to an early advantage.
The Garnet, however, countered with two of its own in the bottom half and knotted the score on Gabriella Natoli's RBI double with two outs in the second.
Comfort came on in relief of Willis after the second and breezed through two hitless frames before running into trouble in the bottom of the fifth. The first two Garnet batters reached base safely, and each moved up on a double steal before a fielder's choice grounder plated the go-ahead run. Morse and Ponziani sandwiched run-scoring singles around the first out of the inning, and Swarthmore added two more on an error and a throw down to second on a steal attempt.
The Bears refused to go quietly, scoring on senior Rachel Hyman's RBI single in the sixth and cutting the margin to 8-5 on Carson's single up the middle. That base hit put runners on first and second with only one out, but Maddie Bowe retired the next two batters to close it out.
The Bears go to Immaculata for a non-conference twin bill on Tuesday.