PHILADELPHIA – For the final regular season game, the University of Pennsylvania softball team will stay local and make the short trip over to Villanova for a single contest on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The game with the Wildcats could possibly be the last game the Quakers will play before the Ivy League Championship Series set for Saturday, May 3.
Last Time Out
After sweeping Columbia at home on Friday, Penn needed one more win over the Lions to lock up the top spot in the South Division. On Saturday in New York the Quakers did just that, winning game one, 3-1. The Red and Blue followed the first game win with a close loss to Columbia, 6-5.
Game 1 – Columbia
WP: Alexis Borden (11-8), 7.0 IP, 10 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
LP: Tessa Kroll (3-3), 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
With the first two innings ending quickly, the Red and Blue cracked the board first in the top of the third, scoring two unearned runs on a fielding error by the Lions’ right fielder. The Quakers added a third in the top of the fourth for a 3-0 lead, when junior tri-captain Vanessa Weaver hit a single to right field that allowed freshman Vera Barnwell to round the bases and safely score.
Columbia scored a run in the bottom of the fifth on a fielding error by Penn but wasn't able to score anymore.
Senior tri-captain Elysse Gorney went 2-for-3 at the plate and recorded seven putouts.
Game 2 – Columbia
WP: Brooke Darling (9-9), 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
LP: Lauren Li (1-1), 3.2 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Penn was one again the team that took the lead, beginning the game with a bang when freshman Leah Allen hit a bomb out to right center on a full count. A second bomb came right after by freshman Alexis Sargent, who hit a shot to left field.
Making quick work on the Lions, the Quakers once again were back at the plate and extended their lead with three more runs. Right after a Columbia pitching change, Allen smacked a double out to right center, sending junior tri-captain Vanessa Weaver and junior tri-captain Sydney Turchin home. A third run was added when Sargent hit a one-run single out to center field for a 5-0 lead.
The Lions began to chip away at Penn's lead, scoring a run in the bottom of the second. Columbia added three more, one coming from a home run by Lion Mackensy Lakian, in the next inning to only trail by one, 5-4.
Columbia continued to keep working the bats, scoring the tying run in the fourth and the winning run in the fifth.
Sargent and Allen led Red and Blue’s bats in the one-run loss. Sargent was a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI and one run, while Allen was 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs.
Scouting Villanova (17-31, 5-13 Big East)
Villanova returned to Pennsylvania after dropping three contests to Big East rival DePaul, who is a perfect 16-0 in conference play. On Saturday, the Blue Demons defeated the Wildcats in a doubleheader by scores of 6-1 and 3-0 and then completed the sweep on Sunday in five innings with a 15-0 win.
DePaul took an early lead on Sunday, utilizing five hits and an error to take a 4-0 lead after the first inning. In the second inning, the Blue Demons extended their lead with a two-run single and added nine more in the fourth inning for the 15-0 lead. Unable to record a hit on the day, the Wildcats dropped their 13 conference game with only three more to play.
Wildcats to Watch:
Freshman Infielder Lauren Herschberg – Leads the team with 40 hits and with 12 doubles … Has a .278 batting average and .302 on base percentage.
Sophomore Sierra McConnell – Holds most home runs hit this season with 5 and has recorded 22 RBI … Gone 55 bases, scoring 17 … Best slugging percentage with .385 … Only Wildcat to start and play all 48 games this season.
Sophomore Pitcher Kate Poppe – (12-23) Has a 2.13 ERA and has started 28 games for the Wildcats, appearing in 38 … Only pitcher for Villanova to have a save and two shutouts … Completed 17 games and leads the Big East in innings pitched with 200 and in strikeouts with 263.
The Series with Villanova
Overall: Villanova leads, 39-21-2
First Meeting: The Quakers defeated the Wildcats in 1975, 19-8
Last Meeting: April 1, 2013 – Villanova defeated Penn, 9-0 in 5 innings
Last Penn Win: March 23, 2012 - The Quakers defeated the Wildcats at home, 3-1
Notables: Last year, the two teams faced each other but not on the same day. Penn faced Villanova early in the season at the UCF Spring Fling Tournament, where the Wildcats came up with a 7-1 win. Later in the season, Villanova pulled out a second win at Penn Park over the Red and Blue, 9-0 in five innings.