PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia University softball team got strong pitching performances from Naomi Stas (Tuckerton, N.J./Pinelands Reigonal) and Stephanie Pepper (Toms River, N.J./Central Regional), but was able to generate enough offense against Chestnut Hill in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) doubleheader, falling by scores of 1-0 and 2-1, Wednesday afternoon.
In the opener, Stas dueled with the Griffins' Briannen Holloway. Both pitchers surrendered four base hits and allowed one walk. Holloway struck out 10 batters, while Stas recorded two strikeouts.
Chestnut Hill (9-19, 7-7 CACC) pushed the only run of the game across the plate on a Brielle Riotte fourth inning one-out single. Ariel Magee started the frame with a single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, and went to third on a Lily Winn single.
The Rams' threatened to knot the score during their turn in the fourth with leadoff singles from Breck Urban (Mullica Hill, N.J./Paul VI) and Monica Levins (Norristown, Pa./Norristown Area). Jovanna Alfonsi (Hatfield, Pa./North Penn)—who was 1-for-2—put both runners in scoring position as she laid down a sacrifice bunt. In the next at-bat, Courtney Wensel (Bechtelsville, Pa./Berks Catholic) bunted a pitch back to Holloway, who went home to retire Urban at home. The rally ended on a strikeout.
Philadelphia (15-18, 8-8 CACC) loaded the bases one inning later with one out on an error, a Megan Letos (Bristow, Va./Stonewall Jackson) base hit, and a Stas walk. However, the Rams were unable to push the tying run across.
Pepper tied her season high of 13 strikeouts in a complete-game loss in game two. She allowed eight hits and one walk.
Philadelphia got on the board when Gianna Bliss (Phoenixville, Pa./Phoenixville Area) hit a groundball that went through the legs of Alex Sauer, allowing pinch runner Katelyn Stys (Chandler, Ariz./Corona del Sol) to score from second base to make the score 2-1. Alfonsi got the offense going with a one-out single and then was substituted for Stys. Wensel put Stys in scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.
In the seventh inning, Stas gave the Rams life as she drilled a two-out double to right field. The game would end in the next at-bat as Kayla Caltabellotta (Holbrook, N.Y./Sachem East) flied out.
Riotte broke a scoreless tie as she led off the fourth inning with a solo home run to left center. The Griffins tacked on a second run one inning later when Winn hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Ariel Magee, who tripled to start the frame.
Both teams recorded eight hits. Alfonsi went 3-for-3, while Caltabellotta and Stas were 2-for-4.
Nicole Eberhard went 6.1 innings and struck out two to get the win. Jessica Heaton threw one pitch to record the save.
Philadelphia returns to non-conference play with a trip to St. Thomas Aquinas on Saturday, April 15 at noon.