Softball Splits on its Final Day in Florida
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Playing its final day in Florida, softball saw its six-game winning streak come to an end with a 6-2 loss at the hands of Akron. However, in the second game, Penn would come back with a vengeance, scoring a season-high nine runs in its run-rule shortened victory over Manhattan, 9-1. The Quakers (8-5) finished the trip to Florida by winning seven of the last eight games that they played.
In the first game of the morning, Akron jumped on top early with five runs in the first two innings. Penn would gain some footing in the late innings with seven hits in their final three times at bat, but could push across just two runs in the 6-2 defeat. In the second game, it was Penn that jumped out early with three runs in the first inning on the way to its seventh win at the Rebel Spring Games. Freshman Alexis Borden picked up her fourth win of the year in that game, going all six innings and allowing just one run.
Akron 6, Penn 2
Batting first, the Zips got off to a quick start with three runs in the top of the first. After a leadoff single, followed by a sacrifice bunt to move the runner into scoring position, Jen Retzer got the third batter to pop-up on the infield for the second out. Akron would then rally with two down, singling into center to bring home the first run of the game. With two outs and the runner on first, the Zips then homered to center field, jumping out to a 3-0 lead.
The Quakers would be retired in order in the bottom of the first and Akron would put two more on the board in the second. A leadoff walk and one-out single followed by a steal of second put runners on second and third. The Zips would then use a bunt and a sacrifice fly to bring home their two runs of the inning, stretching the lead to 5-0.
Penn would put its first runners on base when Kayla Dahlerbruch reached on an error followed by a Brooke Coloma single in the second. With two on and no out, Akron would not allow a Penn runner past second base in the inning. An Akron leadoff single to start the third brought Lindsay Mann out of the Quakers' bullpen. She retired the first hitter she faced on a sacrifice bunt and then got a strikeout and groundout to hold Akron off the board for the first time.
In Penn's half of the third and fourth, the Quakers could not manage to get any runners on base, but Mann continued to hold Akron down in the circle. The only runner she allowed in the fourth or fifth was a single to a runner that was later called out for leaving the base early.
Jessica Melendez walked to start the bottom of the fifth. After a fielder's choice cut down the lead runner, Justine Payne then drew the one-out walk to put two runners on. But again, Akron did not allow a runner past second through five innings. In the top of the sixth, Akron manufactured its final run of the game. The Zips singled to start the inning, sacrificed the runner to second and stole third. With two outs, the Zips beat out an infield hit to allow their sixth run to score.
Penn would have its last good chance at scoring in the sixth. Elysse Gorney beat out an infield single to lead off the Penn sixth. Dahlerbruch followed that up with a one-out single. Coloma then doubled home the first Penn run of the game, while Melendez followed that at-bat up with a RBI single, cutting the lead to 6-2 after six innings.
Mann would allow a leadoff walk in the seventh, but would get the next three hitters in order. Needing a rally to keep the winning streak alive, Stephanie Caso singled to start the seventh. However, the next three hitters would be retired in order, halting the winning streak at six.
Penn finished the game with six hits to Akron's eight, but the early lead would prove too much to overcome. Coming on in relief, Mann finished the last five innings in the circle for Penn. During her time in relief, she conceded just three hits, while walking just one and striking out two.
Penn 9, Manhattan 1 (6 Innings)
After falling behind early in the first game, it was the Quakers that jumped out early in the second. Sydney Turchin drew a walk to start things off and Gorney beat out a bunt to put two runners on. After a double steal, Dahlerbruch brought the game's first run home with a sacrifice fly to right field. Coloma and Melendez then drew walks to load to bases.
After some time to try and repair the dirt in the circle, Jessica Arneson singled into center, bringing home the second run of the game. Vanessa Weaver would then take a RBI the easy way, walking with bases loaded as Penn worked a total of four walks in the first.
Manhattan loaded the bases in its half of the first with two walks and single. Borden looked to be able to see her way out of trouble after a one-out strikeout, but she hit the next batter on the 1-2 pitch, forcing home a Jaspers' run. This was just the second game that Borden has allowed an earned run in, ending a streak of 25.1 innings without allowing an earned run to cross the plate. She would then strike out the next hitter to leave the bases loaded in the first.
Each side could only manage a walk in the second inning. In the third, Penn made the score 4-1 after Melendez was hit by pitch to start the inning. Arneson sacrificed her into scoring position and Karina Rios would bring her home with her first collegiate extra base hit, doubling over the left fielder's head.
In the bottom of the third, Borden would retire the side in order. Penn added three more in the fourth. Walks by Turchin and Gorney to start the fourth inning came around to score on a Dahlerbruch single after the catcher made an errant throw trying to catch Dahlerbruch taking an extra base on the throw home. Melendez would then drop a single into left field, scoring the third run of the inning, giving Penn a 7-1 lead.
Borden would continue to fire from the circle, retiring the side in order again in the bottom of the fourth as she had then retired eight straight hitters going back to the second inning. Caso and Turchin put two more leadoff runners on to start the fifth, but they would be stranded on the base paths.
Borden would retire nine in a row before allowing a single through the right side in the fifth, but would again hold the Jaspers off the scoreboard in the frame. The Quakers would tact on their final two runs in the sixth. Bridget Ellsworth walked to get things going.
With one out, Rios then doubled for the second time, putting both runners in scoring position. Weaver then singled past the first baseman for the first RBI, while Rios scored the second run on a sac fly by Caso with the infield making the catch with its backs to the play. In the sixth, Borden would seal the deal, allowing just a two-out single to reach, earning her fourth victory of the season.
In each of her last three starts, Borden has now thrown a complete game. Today, she allowed just four hits, while striking out seven more batters. Offensively, eight players recorded a hit in the game against Manhattan. All nine starters reached base in the game by either a hit or walk as Penn got nine hits off the Jaspers' pitching and showed incredible patience, drawing another 10 walks.
With today marking the final day of play in Florida, Penn is set to fly back to campus tomorrow. The Quakers will now look towards next Wednesday, March 14 when the team plays its first games of the spring season at brand-new Penn Park. On Wednesday, Penn will take on cross-town rival Saint Joseph's in a doubleheader with the first game starting at 2:30 p.m.