MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – A stellar pitching performance from junior Kaitlyn Willis sparked the Ursinus College softball team to an 8-1 victory over Penn College on Wednesday, delivering the Bears a split of their two contests for the day.
Willis allowed just four hits in a complete-game gem, helping to alleviate the sting of a 9-6 defeat at the hands of Mary Washington earlier in the day.
Sophomore Sammi Donato had a huge day at the plate, going 5-for-7 with four RBI and two runs scored. Classmate Samantha Garritano was 4-for-7 with five runs scored, including three in the Penn College contest, where freshman Renee LeClerc had three hits and drove in a pair of runs.
Game 1: Mary Washington 9, Ursinus 6
After falling behind 1-0 in the first, Ursinus struck back with two runs in the bottom half on back-to-back RBI singles from Garritano and Donato.
The Eagles exploded for five runs in the top of the third, all of them coming with two outs following an error, before the Bears rallied with two of their own in the inning and another in the fifth, slicing the deficit to 6-5. Donato and freshman Jennifer Hammons had back-to-back RBI singles with two outs in the third, a stretch of four straight base-runners kick-started by Garritano's two-out single and a walk to freshman Faith Carson. Hammons' single was both her first career hit and first career RBI.
Mary Washington put the game out of reach with a three-run seventh, rendering Garritano's seventh-inning run moot.
Garritano and Donato led the offense with three hits apiece, and Garritano came around to score three runs in the contest.
Hammons (1-2) allowed ten hits and nine runs, but only one was earned as the Eagles capitalized on three Ursinus errors. She struck out three and walked three.
Game 2: Ursinus 8, Penn College 1
After a rough outing in her last start, Willis was back to her usual dominant self in the circle. The right-hander retired the first nine batters she faced before Taylor Krow led off the top of the fourth with a single, and Willis took a shutout into the sixth. Taylor Brooks' triple and Kelsey Gantz' RBI single with two outs were all that stood between Willis and a clean sheet.
The Bears, who had taken a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning on Donato's two-run single, broke it open with a six-run sixth capped by LeClerc's two-run single. Sophomore Kayla Quinn and Garritano sandwiched run-scoring base hits around an RBI groundout by freshman Marissa Beebe, and Donato added another RBI single of her own. LeClerc's bases-loaded knock polished off the huge inning, which saw Ursinus send 11 batters to the plate and take advantage of two Penn College errors.
Donato was 2-for-3 with three RBI for the Bears, while LeClerc (3-for-4) had a career-high three hits and drove in a pair. Quinn and Garritano each scored two runs and drove in another.
Willis scattered four hits in her seven complete frames; she struck out two and did not issue a walk.
The Bears finish their spring trip Thursday with a contest against Wilkes, with first pitch scheduled for 5:30 p.m.