PHILADELPHIA – The University of the Sciences softball team won its Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) opener 3-2 over Post in game one of a doubleheader split on Sunday afternoon, in the Devils' first-ever home game at its new field in FDR Park.
Outside of a two-run second, game one starter Kaitlyn Gaynor shut down Post in a complete-game effort. She allowed just those two runs on six hits in her seven innings of work, including retiring 10 of the final 11 batters she faced.
With two strikeouts, the junior became the third pitcher in program history to surpass 300 career strikeouts, while her 13th career win moves her into a tie for 10th in the program annals.
Freshman Gabrielle Simms was the offensive star, recording multiple hits in both games to finish the doubleheader 5-for-7 with two runs, a double and a walk.
Fellow freshman and game two reliever Paige Schlechter also shined in her home collegiate debut, keeping USciences in the nightcap with five innings of relief in which she gave up just one run on four hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
After limiting the Eagles to two runs after loading the bases with zero outs in the second inning of game one, Gaynor also had to strand runners on second and third with one out in the third.
The first run came in on a double play, before Rebecca Colandrea came through with a two-out single to tie the score at 2-2.
Both team had multiple runners reach in the fourth but could not capitalize, and after Gaynor shut down Post with her first 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, again it was USciences coming through with a clutch two-out single.
That was all Gaynor needed, as she retired Post in order in the sixth before working around a one-out single in the seventh.
Post started quickly in the nightcap, scoring one run in each of its first three at-bats to force a pitching change to Schlechter, who threw a wild pitch in her first at-bat that allowed a runner to advance to third with zero outs before retiring the next three.
That sparked University of the Sciences, who began a rally with back-to-back one-out singles by Camille Brown and Simms.
Miranda Rodriguez sacrificed those two to second and third for LaPlante, who made it a one-run game with a two-out, two-RBI single.
Schlechter retired Post in order in both the fourth and the fifth, and University of the Sciences advanced runners into scoring position in both of its at-bats, but the Devils could not capitalize.
The Eagles finally added insurance in the seventh, which proved to be crucial after Evangelina Olivera led off with a walk in the bottom-half.
A one-out Simms single and passed ball gave USciences runners on second and third with one away, but USciences could only manage a one-out Rodriguez sacrifice fly as the tying run was stranded on base after a strikeout ended the game.
University of the Sciences next plays at CACC leader Georgian Court this Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.