NEW YORK, N.Y. - Softball's offense just continues to peak heading into the postseason. On Saturday, the Quakers (32-15, 15-5 Ivy) recorded 27 hits and scored 19 runs, finishing off the four-game weekend sweep against Columbia (12-33, 6-14 Ivy). With the win, the Quakers have, at the minimum, clinched a spot in a one-game playoff with Cornell for the South Division. The Big Red won both of their games today against Princeton, including a 14 inning nail-biter. A Cornell loss in either of its two remaining games with Princeton would give Penn the South Division title and spot in the Ivy League Championship Series.
The Quakers jumped out to quick leads in both games on Saturday. During the first game, Penn used a five-run second inning to open the game up early and pace the 8-2 win. In the second half of the doubleheader, Penn scored in every inning on its way to the 11-1 win in the run-ruled shortened game.
Penn 8, Columbia 2 (Game one)
The Quakers struck early in game one with a run in the first. Sydney Turchin got things started with a single back through the middle. Elysse Gorney then reached on a throwing error that put runners on first and second. After a fielder's choice put runners on first and third with one out, Brooke Coloma doubled into right-center field, bringing home Penn's early run.
The Lions answered right back in the bottom half with one of their own. Emily Caruthers beat out an infield single to start the game and she would come around to score on a one-out double by Alix Cook. A hit-by-pitch and second infield single would then load the bases. However, Alexis Borden would strand the bases loaded with a strikeout and pop-up on the infield as the two squads went to the second tied at one.
Penn then came right back in the second inning with five runs to break the game open. After a walk by Jessica Arneson, back-to-back singles by Stephanie Caso and Turchin loaded the bases with one out. Gorney singled into left during the next at-bat, bringing home the first run of the inning, while a two-RBI single by Kayla Dahlerbruch put runners on second and third after the throw home. The fifth consecutive hit of the inning, a single by Coloma, would chase the Columbia pitcher from game one and bring home the fourth run of the half inning. Penn added its final run of the frame on a Georgia Guttadauro sacrifice fly to left, making the score 6-1 after one and a half.
Borden would get the shutdown inning in the bottom of the second as she worked around a one-out single. In the top of third, Penn managed just a Caso single with two outs, while Columbia would add one run in the bottom of the inning. After a leadoff single that was followed by a walk, a fielder's choice put runners on second and third with one out for the Lions. After a pop-up on the infield put two down, a single by Kristen Moone back through the middle brought home Columbia's second run of the game.
In the fourth, Penn would get back on the offensive with a leadoff single by Gorney. With one out, Coloma would then extend Penn's lead to 8-2 with a deep shot over the left field wall. The long ball was her sixth of the year and tied her career high that she set as a freshman. Jessica Melendez would double later in the inning and advance to third on a wild pitch, but be stranded at third. Borden would again hold Columbia off the board in the bottom of the fourth.
Penn threatened to extend its lead in the top of the fifth with a Caso walk and two-out single by Gorney, but a nice running grab off the bat of Dahlerbruch prevented extra bases. Penn's final scoring chance came in the seventh with Karina Rios doubling down the left field line before she was stranded. In the circle, Borden would post zeroes the rest of the way to nail down the 8-2 win. She did not allow a run after the third inning in the first game.
For the game, the Quakers finished with thirteen hits. Gorney and Coloma each finished the game with three hits, while Caso added a 2-for-2 performance with a walk. The first through fourth hitters in the Quakers' lineup finished with a combined nine hits, seven RBI and six runs in the first game.
Penn 11, Columbia 1 - 5 Inn. (Game two)
The Quakers again jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs in the top of the first in game two. After two bang-bang plays at first, Dahlerbruch and Coloma both singled with two down. Guttadauro then drove a line smash off the tip of the third baseman's glove and into the left for a RBI double. After a walk to Melendez loaded the bases, Erosa singled back through the middle, scoring two more runs, and giving Penn a 3-0 lead.
In the second inning, Penn again jumped right on Columbia as Rios singled to start the inning and was bunted into scoring position by Turchin. A Gorney single put runners on the corners and Gorney would swipe second to put two in scoring position. Dahlerbruch would then ground to second. Her grounder was misplayed and two more runs came around, making the score 5-0. Columbia would get one back in the bottom half. After a walk and double to start the bottom half of the second inning, Borden fielded a grounder right back at her and got a strikeout to put two away. However, the runner from third would score on a wild pitch before a final groundout ended the Lions' second.
Penn added another run to the scoreboard in the third. With one out, Erosa doubled down the left field line. Two batters later, Rios singled back through the middle for the Quakers' sixth run of the game. In the bottom half, Borden set down the Lions' side in order as Penn took a 6-1 lead into the fourth.
The Quakers would just continue to add to their lead in the fourth. After two outs, Coloma got the two-out rally started with a single back through the middle after fighting off several pitches in her at-bat. Guttadauro then doubled into left field, scoring Coloma from first. Melendez would then trade places with Guttadauro as she doubled past third base, giving Penn an 8-1 lead. In the bottom half, Borden continued to find her groove, retiring the Columbia side in order for the second straight inning.
Penn would make it every inning with a run in the fifth. Caso singled to start the inning and Rios walked to put the first two runners on. A fielder's choice put runners on the corners and the Quakers executed the double steal to put the run-rule in effect. However, they were not done yet. Gorney then singled back through the middle for the second run of the inning. A Dahlerbruch walk put two runners on base and Coloma would drive home Gorney to make the score 11-1.
After a fly out put one away, back-to-back singles had Columbia with two on and just one out. However, the Penn defense would get the lead runner at third on a grounder to short for the second out and Borden would put the finishing touches on her 23rd victory of the season with a swinging strikeout to help Penn seal at least a share of the division title. She allowed just four hits total in the second game, striking out six.
In the second game, Penn racked up 14 hits in the five inning game. Five players in the starting nine finished with a multi-hit game, including Coloma's three-hit performance in the second game
Nine different players finished the day with at least two hits during the doubleheader. Highlighting those performances was a six-hit day from Coloma. She also drove in five runs and scored three more. Gorney finished the day with five hits and a team-high four runs.
The Quakers will now await the result of the Princeton and Cornell series tomorrow with the first game beginning at 12:30 p.m.