ORLANDO, Fla. – Giving up was never an option for the University of Pennsylvania softball team, as the Quakers battled with Troy in extra innings but came up short, 6-4. After being down four in the bottom of the first inning, the Red and Blue didn’t allow the Trojans to score any runs until the top of the 10. Penn then closed out the day with a second close game against Western Carolina, again coming up short, 5-4. The Red and Blue start the season 0-2 but prove they will fight until the last out.
Game 1 – Troy (11-10-2)
WP: Jaycee Affeldt (5-6), 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 K
LP: Alexis Borden (0-1), 10.0 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 15 K, WP
The first game of the season was an exciting one, to say the least. As the home team, Penn took their positions in the field and prepared to finally get its season underway. The Quakers soon found themselves in a big test, as the first batter for Troy singled to third base and two more Trojans made their way to the bases, shortly after. With one out, Troy’s Rachel Rigney hit a grand slam, quickly putting the Trojans up, 4-0.
But the Red and Blue didn’t give up hope.
Penn quickly got the bats going, as tri-captain Sydney Turchin led off with a triple on a 3-1 count. However, Turchin wasn’t able to make it home, so the Quakers could only put up one hit instead of one run.
In the next inning, the Quakers came up with two more runs. With freshman Sydney Kranzmann, pinch running for Lauren Li, at second base and tri-captain Vanessa Weaver at first, Turchin singled through the right side and allowed Kranzmann to make it home safely. Weaver scored the second run after Troy pitcher Jaycee Affeldt walked Allen with the bases loaded.
The score remained at 4-3 in the Trojans favor, until things got interesting in the bottom of the seventh.
After striking out swinging, Allen reached first base, on a throwing error by the catcher, but didn’t stop there as she then reached second after a fielding error by the right fielder. Allen continued to sprint her way around the bases and made it home safely, tying the game at four.
The Red and Blue held off Troy for two more innings, until the Trojans struck in the top of the 10th and scored two runs that would ultimately win them the game.
Game 2 – Western Carolina (7-11)
WP: Courtney Buchanan (3-0), 6.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, WP (2), HBP (Gorney)
LP: Courtney Cuzick (0-1), 3.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, WP
It was a quiet game until the top of the fourth, when Western Carolina’s lead off batter, left fielder Courtney Price, tripled down the left field line. Price then secured the first run for the Catamounts, after a fielding error, which gave Western Carolina momentum to score three more runs.
Penn took a little longer to find their groove at bat, as the Quakers went four innings without a hit.
In the top of the fifth, the Catamounts tacked on another run, but the Red and Blue responded in the bottom of the fifth with three runs.
Jen Retzer stepped up to the plate, pinch hitting for Kristen Johnson, and did exactly what a pinch hitter should do; she singled up the middle for Penn’s first hit of the game. A second single up the middle was produced right after from Weaver, giving the Quakers two on and no outs. Vera Barnwell pinch ran for Retzer and scored the first run for the Red and Blue, after getting to third from a ground out by Turchin and then reaching home on a sacrifice fly by Kayla Dahlerbruch. Weaver and Gorney, who was walked, also made it to home plate, putting the Quakers within two.
After a short sixth inning, Western Carolina had one more chance to increase the lead but the Red and Blue saw to it that the Catamounts were done scoring, getting three quick outs.
It was almost Déjà vu.
Penn was down in the bottom of the seventh, once again. After Emily Stinnett flied out to center field, Turchin found her way to first via base on balls. Turchin advanced a second base, after Taylor Sigmon threw a wild pitch, and found her way home after Gorney singled down the right field line. Unfortunately, Turchin’s run was the one last scored by the Quakers, as they dropped a second close comeback, 5-4.
The Red and Blue will be back in action tomorrow for a doubleheader, when they play host UCF at 6 p.m. and then Bowling Green at 8 p.m.