by Tom Utescher

Sophomore shortstop Cassie Benson slides head first into home plate to score a run for Chestnut Hill College in a conference doubleheader last week. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

In an April 4 softball doubleheader host Chestnut Hill College led in the opener and was tied going into the sixth inning of the second contest, but both games slipped away from the Griffins.

The visiting Devils of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP), fellow members of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, swept CHC in the twin bill, 12-2 and 4-1. The winners went home with a record of 5-17 overall and 3-5 in the CACC, while Chestnut Hill fell to 3-18, 0-10.

In the first game, the Griffins went ahead 1-0 in their initial turn at bat. Bishop McDevitt grad Shannan Burdziak, a senior, singled and went around to third on a USP error on a ball put in play by sophomore Veronica Wilenta. Waiting through two outs, Burdziak eventually came home on a hit to right field by sophomore Cassie Benson.

Before Chestnut Hill scored again, the Devils would pile up a dozen runs. All the visitors would actually need for the victory was Erin Summers’ three-run homer in the top of the fourth. They were able to reinforce their lead with four more runs in the fifth and five in the top of the sixth, making it 12-1.

This would bring the NCAA mercy rule into effect to end the game early if the Griffins could not score more than three runs in the bottom of the inning. The hosts could only manage one, as Benson singled, reached third on a double by senior Janean Ciancia, and then scored when USP opted for a force-out at third base on a ball hit to left field by sophomore Mariah Quattlebaum.

Wilenta, CHC’s starting pitcher (1K, 10H, 3BB), was relieved with one out in the fifth by freshman Brittany DeGarmo (0K, 2H, 0BB). Julie Shaw (5K, 5H, 1BB) went five innings to pick up the win for the visitors.

Climbing right back onto the mound in the second game, the Griffins’ DeGarmo (0K, 10H, 1BB) went the distance in the loss, and USP also stuck with a single pitcher, Courtney Spina (9K, 6H, 0BB).

The Devils were first on the scoreboard, with Gabby Adams leading off the top of the second with a double to left centerfield and later scoring on a single to right center by Gina Murray. Chestnut Hill evened it up at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth, when sophomore Giana Cavallo whacked a solo homer over the fence in left center.

The Griffins mounted runners on second and third base in the fifth inning, but couldn’t score. With one out in the top of the sixth, USP loaded the bases with three singles that fell to earth in front of the outfielders in left and center. The visitors’ Janelle Rodriguez struck the ball more solidly, driving a three-run double to the foot of the fence in left center.

In the bottom of the inning, CHC had runners on second and third with two outs, then stranded them with a strike out. Both teams went down in order in the seventh frame to wrap up the proceedings.

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