PHILADELPHIA – It was a heck of an afternoon for the University of Pennsylvania softball team, as the Quakers swept Columbia in early-ending games Friday afternoon for the three seniors’ -- Kayla Dahlerbruch, Elysse Gorney, Kristen Johnson -- last games at Penn Park. The Red and Blue held the Lions to scoring only one run, winning game one, 10-0, and game two, 9-1. Penn only needs to win one more game tomorrow against Columbia, it will guarantee the South Division Crown.
The Quakers hit four home runs in the day’s contests. In game one, senior Kristen Johnson hit her first home run of the season, and freshman Leah Allen hit her twelfth. In game two, freshman Alexis Sargent blasted to balls and now has the second most home runs in the League with eight.
Game 1 – Columbia (21-20, 8-9 Ivy)
WP: Alexis Borden (9-8), 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
LP: Emily Kenyon (5-5), 0.0 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K
It didn’t take long for the Red and Blue bats to get to work, loading up the bases in the first inning. Going for the double steal, sophomore Kanani Datan and junior tri-captain Sydney Turchin were able to move into scoring position safely but Turchin was able to put the first run up after a throwing error by Lion catcher Liz Caggiano. Two walks and a single later, Penn held a 2-0 lead with no outs as starting Lion pitcher Emily Kenyon was replaced by Tonia Wu. The Quakers scored one more run that inning, after sophomore Korinne Raby singled through the left side.
After another quick top half from junior pitcher Alexis Borden and the rest of the Penn offense moved the game to the home half.
And the excitement was just beginning.
Senior Kristen Johnson was playing in her final games at Penn Park, and what better way to kick things off and close it out with is a leadoff home run? Can’t think of many, but Johnson did just that. With a full count, Johnson cleared the left center fence for her first home run of the season and third career.
Johnson’s home run wasn’t the only one the Quakers would see as freshman Leah Allen smashed the ball clear out to the Dunning-Cohen Field with bases loaded, giving the Red and Blue a 8-0 lead.
The final two runs were tacked on in the bottom of the fourth; the first run was scored by senior captain Elysse Gorney from fellow senior Kayla Dahlerbruch doubled, the second was scored by Dahlerbruch after sophomore Lauren Li singled through the left side for the 10-0 score.
And then it was shutdown defense, as the Penn allowed Columbia to record one hit in the top of the fifth.
Turchin and Allen were both 2-for-3 at the plate while Dahlerbruch was a perfect 2-for-2.
Game 2 – Columbia (21-21, 8-10 Ivy)
WP: Alexis Borden (10-8), 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
LP: Brooke Darling (10-9), 4.1 IP, 9 H, 9 ER, 5 BB, 2 K
The Red and Blue came out hot, this time scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning.
When freshman Leah Allen was in the middle of second and first, trying not get caught attempting to steal, sophomore Kanani Datan made her way safely home allowing Allen to advance an additional base on the throwing error from short, putting them ahead 1-0.
Freshman Alexis Sargent added three more runs -- after senior Kayla Dahlerbruch reached first via walk -- with her first home run of the day to center field, which was her seventh home runs this season.
Penn was holding strong with the 4-0 lead until Columbia was able to break through and put one up in the top of the third.
Back-to-back hits, a double and then a single, gave the Lions the boost they needed to put their mark up and not be shutout for the second time. But it was all they could round up, as the Quakers were playing though defense.
After being unable to capitalize on a bases loaded opportunity in the home half of the fourth, the Red and Blue would make up for it in the bottom of the fifth.
Sargent pounded her second home run of the game, on a 3-2 count, putting her at eight total home runs this season. She now has the second-highest amount of home runs hit this season in the League (behind fellow freshman teammate, Leah Allen.) Sargent sparked Penn’s bats, supplying the needed boost to end the game early. Needing two more runs to end the game, senior tri-captain Elysse Gorney approached the plate with one out and the two winning runs on. After two balls, Gorney picked out the pitch and hit a walk-off single to center field, as tri-captain Sydney Turchin and Datan crossed home.
In game two, Sargent was 2-for-2, recording two runs and four RBI, while Turchin was also 2-for-2 with one run and one RBI. Datan was 3-for-4, with two runs scored and one RBI, while Gorney was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Unless Cornell drops a game against Princeton this weekend, the Quakers will need to claim one more victory over the Lions to claim the South Division Title outright. Penn will finish up the home-and-home series with the Lions tomorrow starting at 12:30 p.m.