PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania softball team (20-15, 10-2 Ivy) established itself as the team to beat in the Ivy League on Sunday afternoon with a doubleheader sweep of Princeton (21-15, 6-6) at Penn Park. The Quakers currently have the best record in the Ivies and now hold a four game lead over the Tigers for first place in the South Division with just eight league games remaining.
WP: Alexis Borden (10-7); 7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
LP: Alex Peyton (6-6); 4.2 IP, 6 H, 7 R (4 ER), 4 BB, K
Alexis Borden started the day pitching her way through four shutout innings before giving up a couple in the fifth. She would bounce back though and finish with two more scoreless innings to seal the 9-2 victory, her ninth of the season.
The Quakers struck first, plating two in the home half of the first inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Kayla Dahlerbruch would get hit by a pitch – she leads Penn with six on the season – to force in the first run of the game. Georgia Guttadauro would send another run across with an RBI fielder’s choice to give Penn the early 2-0 lead. Later in the bottom of the third inning with the bases loaded, Jessica Melendez would hit into an RBI fielder’s choice as well, scoring Brooke Coloma for the 3-0 lead.
Princeton would finally get to Borden in the top of the fifth with back-to-back solo home runs over the centerfield wall, but that would be the Tigers only offense in the contest. The Red and Blue would blow the game open in the following half inning, putting up a four-spot on Princeton starter Alex Peyton, chasing the senior from the circle. With Samantha Erosa on second and no outs, Coloma would hit a single up the middle to stretch the lead to 4-2. Then two at-bats later and two runners on, Guttadauro would hit her third home run of the season – a three-run shot deep to leftfield.
Penn would score a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth as well, jumping out to the 9-2 lead which would be the final in this one. With two outs and the bases loaded, Jessica Arneson would draw the RBI-walk. The following batter Stephanie Caso would do the same as well.
WP: Alexis Borden (10-7), 7 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 4 K
LP: Shanna Christian (7-4), 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 4 K
Head coach Leslie King made a statement with her lineup in Game 2 that the Quakers were going for total control of the Ivy League, naming Borden as the starter for the second consecutive contest. The sophomore would not disappoint, earning her second complete-game victory of the day and helping Penn to a 3-1 series win over the Tigers.
Once again, the Red and Blue jumped out to an early two-run lead after the first inning of play. With Elysse Gorney on base and one out, Coloma finally broke through with her first homer of the season – a two-run shot way over the fence in right-centerfield. Princeton would even the score with a two-run shot of its own in the top of the third.
The Quakers would jump out to another two-run lead in the bottom of the fourth with, beginning with a leadoff solo home run to left-center by Erosa – her third of the season. Later in the inning with two outs and Coloma on second, Melendez would line a single up the middle to score her fellow senior outfielder and stretch the lead to 4-2.
Princeton would hit yet another solo home run in the top of the fifth inning to trim Penn’s lead to one run at 4-3, making for a tight finish. The Quakers would get that run back for a little insurance in the home half of the sixth, which would prove to be the game-winner when it was all said and done. With one out and the bases loaded, Arneson would approach the plate needing only to put the ball in play to score a run, and that’s just what the senior quad-captain did. Penn’s starting backstop hit a high fly ball to centerfield for the sacrifice, giving Coloma enough time to tag up and score from third.
Entering the top of the seventh, Penn led 5-3 needing just three outs to cement the series victory. With a runner on second and one out the Tigers’ shortstop would single home a run to make it a one run game. Borden would buckle down though and a few batters later get the lineout to third for the 5-4 win.
The Quakers now have a stranglehold on the South Division and look as though they will secure home field for the Ivy League Championship Series. Their eight remaining Ivy games consist of a pair of doubleheaders in Ithaca, N.Y. against Cornell next weekend and a home-and-home doubleheader series with Columbia the following weekend.
The Red and Blue will be back in action on April 17 when they visit neighboring Drexel for an afternoon game at the Vidas Athletic Complex and follow that up at Cornell on April 20-21. Penn will then return home for a Big 5 single-game matchup with Temple on April 24.