PHILADELPHIA - Softball used five home runs on Friday night to sweep the opening doubleheader with Cornell. With the two wins, the Big Red (19-18, 10-4 Ivy) and Quakers (26-14, 10-4 Ivy) are now in a dead head for the South Division title as the two squads are currently tied atop the division standings with six games to go. Two of those games that could go a long way to determining a division champion will be played tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. when these two squads play their second doubleheader on Saturday at Penn Park.
The Quakers recorded just two hits in the first game, but made them count as Brooke Coloma gave Penn the early lead with a two-run homer and Jessica Melendez gave them the lead for good with a three-run home run in the sixth. The second game saw the Big Red jump out to a 5-0 lead after four and a half innings, but home runs by Kayla Dahlerbruch, Georgia Guttadauro and Elysse Gorney helped Penn score nine times in the fifth and sixth, its final two at-bats, to take game two by the final of 9-6.
Penn 5, Cornell 2 (Game one)
Game one starter Alexis Borden set down the Big Red in order to start the top of the first. In the bottom half, Penn looked to score early with walks to start the inning by Sydney Turchin and Gorney, but could not advance the runners past second in the first. In the second, Borden worked around an error and infield single, while Cornell starter Jenna Stoller sent the game scoreless into the third.
Cornell would strike first in the top of the third. After a leadoff walk, a double by the leadoff hitter in the Big Red lineup put runners on second and third with no out. Borden set the next two hitters down swinging, but a pitch that got away allowed the first run of the game to score with two outs. However, Borden would recover and send the next hitter back to the dugout looking at a third strike.
In the bottom of the third and top of the fourth, neither side was able to produce much offensively as Borden worked around a one-out bunt single in the fourth. In the bottom half of that inning, Gorney walked to put Penn's leadoff runner on base. Two hitters later, Coloma would bring her all the way around with a blast over the left-centerfield wall, giving Penn the 2-1 lead after four innings. The home run was Coloma's fourth of the season and second this week.
The Big Red came right back in the top of the fifth. After two quick outs, an infield single and stolen base led to a Kristen Towne RBI single back through the middle, tying the score at 2-2 after five. Borden had a bounce-back inning in the sixth, working around a leadoff walk, and the Quakers would retake the lead in their half of the sixth.
Turchin started the inning by working a leadoff walk and got into scoring position with her league-leading 12th stolen base of the year with one out. After a ground out moved her over to third with two outs, Cornell elected to walk Coloma. The Big Red then made a call to the bullpen to try and get out Melendez. After watching Coloma receive the intentional pass so they could pitch to her, Melendez made the Big Red pay for that decision when she belted her league-leading eighth home run of the season over the left field fence, giving the Quakers a 5-2 lead after six innings.
Borden then slammed the door on game one with a routine fly to center followed by two more strikeouts to solidify her 17th victory of the season. She allowed just two runs, one earned, on five hits and three walks. She struck out 12 batters total in the first game.
Penn 9, Cornell 6
The Quakers elected to let Borden keep pitching in game two. After getting the leadoff, she allowed a double down the left field line and a single to put runners on second and third. She would get her second out by striking out the clean-up hitter and after allowing a two-out walk to load the bases, she got through the inning unharmed with her second strikeout of the frame. Penn managed just a Dahlerbruch single in the bottom half off Cornell's starter, Alyson Onyon.
In the second and third innings, Borden and Onyon would trade scoreless frames. Borden worked around a leadoff double in the second by getting the next three hitters and worked a perfect third. Samantha Erosa singled in the second, but Penn managed no more offense during that stretch.
With a scoreless game after three innings, Cornell broke through in the fourth. Erin Keene led off the inning with a home run just of the glove of the Penn outfield. After a hit-by-pitch, Sam Creamer homered to make the score 3-0. This brought Mikenzie Voves out of the bullpen for what seemed, at the time, to be the final batter of Borden's night. A two-out walk that stole second base would come around to score on a Jenny Edwards single, giving Cornell a 4-0 lead after three and a half. The Big Red added another run in the fifth after the leadoff in that inning reached on a wild pitch on strike three and came around to score on a two-out single, giving Cornell a 5-0 lead.
Playing the first-ever Ivy League softball game at night, the Quakers would shine under the bright lights of Penn Park and rally in the bottom of the fifth inning. Guttadauro and Erosa each singled in their at-bats and Jessica Arneson reached on a throwing error that pulled the first baseman off the bag, loading the bases with nobody out. Stephanie Caso brought home the first run on a sacrifice fly, scoring Laura Placentra, who entered as a pinch-runner. After the second out, a hustling Gorney beat out an infield chopper, keeping the inning alive and allowing the second run to score. Dahlerbruch would then knot the game at five-all with her three-run blast deep into left field, her sixth home run of the season.
Voves shut down the Big Red in the top of the sixth and Penn again jumped all over Cornell in the bottom of the sixth. With Guttadauro leading off for the second straight inning, she went the other way and delivered her third home run of the season to give Penn the 6-5 lead. After an Erosa single, Cornell went back to its game one reliever. She would get the next two hitters, but Turchin kept the inning alive with a single into left. With the two runners on, Gorney delivered her first career home run at Penn over the fence in right-centerfield to give Penn a 9-5 lead after six innings.
Kristen Towne homered to lead off the seventh inning, cutting the Quakers' lead to 9-6, but Voves would get the next two batters to put Penn on the brink of the doubleheader sweep. However, Cornell would not go quietly as it drew a two-out walk, singled, and was hit-by-pitch to load the bases and bring the go-ahead run to the plate. To get the third out, Penn brought Borden back in relief during a game she started. She would make quick work of her second appearance in game two as she induced the pop-up to shortstop to nail down the game two victory.
In the second game, Penn recorded 10 hits with four players having multi-hit games. Erosa finished with three hits and two runs scored, while Gorney (4 RBI), Dahlerbruch (3 RBI), and Guttadauro (1 RBI) each finished with two hits.
Penn and Cornell will now renew the four-game series tomorrow afternoon with another doubleheader beginning at 12:30 p.m. at Penn Park.