PHILADELPHIA - Stephanie Caso's two-run home run in the eighth inning lifted Penn to a 6-4 extra innings victory over Drexel Wednesday night. Caso's homer was one of three on the night for a Penn offense that had seven different players with at least one hit on the night. In the mid-week matchup, Penn (15-16-1) used three different pitchers that held Drexel to just four runs on the evening.
Penn would have runners in the first inning, but after being unable to score in the top of the first, Drexel put the first run on the board after a leadoff walk stole second and came around to score on a single through the left side. Taylor Tieman, who got the start in the circle for Penn, would keep the Drexel offense off the board in the second inning and Penn would finally breakthrough in the third inning.
The top of the third started out with two consecutive groundouts back to the pitcher, but Caso would work a two-out walk to keep the inning alive. Alisha Prystowsky would then put Penn on top with what was at the time her team-high fourth home run of the season. Prystowsky would end up leading the team in home runs just one at-bat as Brooke Coloma took her pitch over the left-center field fence for her fourth home run of the season. After the back-to-back home runs with two outs, Penn would take a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the third.
Tieman would work around an infield single in the bottom of the third to preserve the Penn lead. In the bottom of the fourth, a leadoff walk, followed by a defensive error in the outfield allowed the leadoff runner to come around to score on line drive right back past Tieman and into centerfield. However, with one out and runners on the corners, Tieman would get a ground ball right back at her that held the runner at third and with two outs would induce the infield fly that was taken by Kristen Johnson at third to end the inning.
Tieman's night would be complete after four innings as she left with Penn holding onto a slim 3-2 lead. In the top of the fifth, Coloma looked to extend the Penn lead with what appeared to be her second home run of the evening, but Drexel's centerfielder, Laura Stagliano, reached over the wall and brought the ball back in to play, keeping the game at just a one run difference.
Drexel would take the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning with two more runs. Following a leadoff double down the leftfield line and a walk, a sacrifice bunt would move the Dragon runners to second and third with just one out. Back-to-back singles would then score consecutive runs, making the score 4-3 in favor of Drexel after five innings.
Penn would not let Drexel have the lead for long as it knotted the game in the sixth. Justine Payne started the inning off with a walk and Meg Kranse followed up that at-bat with a base on balls of her own. After two consecutive outs, both Payne and Laura Placentra, who came in to run for Krasne, were still on first and second. Bridget Ellsworth would put the runners in motion with her double into centerfield that scored Payne and tied the game.
With the score tied at four, Cailyn Hennessy stranded a runner on third with just one out and the game went to the seventh inning all tied.
Penn would threaten in the seventh after Prystowsky and Johnson walked with one out. Payne would single through the left side and Prystowsky tried to score on the play, but a perfect throw from the left fielder beat her to the plate and she was tug out for the second out of the inning and both runners would be stranded.
In the bottom of the seventh, Mikenzie Voves, who came on in relief of Hennessy allowed just a two-out walk, while striking out two in the seventh to send the game to extra innings.
Jessica Melendez got the Penn eighth started with a single, but a fielder's choice cut down Melendez at second and put two away. With one on and two out, Caso would deliver the big blow courtesy of a home run to left-center field, her second home run of the season. This gave Penn the 6-4 lead and was more than enough for Voves in the bottom of the eighth. Drexel would get the leadoff runner aboard, but nobody else as Voves got two grounders back to the pitcher sandwiched around a one-out strikeout to preserve the Penn victory.
Voves picked up her team-high ninth victory of the season in her two innings of relief. Offensively, Caso, Coloma, and Melendez all had two hits each for Penn.
Now Penn will make the trip to Ithaca this weekend for the Ivy League South Division showdown with Cornell. Penn currently sits in second place in the south division, just one game behind Cornell. The two squads will play four pivotal games this weekend . Currently these doubleheaders are scheduled to go off on Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on both days. However, with the possibly of rain in the forecast, Saturday's games could be moved to Friday. Check back throughout the day Thursday for any schedule changes that may occur.