PHILADELPHIA – Stakes were high on Sunday afternoon for the University of Pennsylvania softball team, as the Quakers finished out the first Ivy South Division four-game series with Cornell. Both teams knew the importance of the games, fighting hard to come out on top, but it was the Quakers who prevailed in the slugfest, winning both games by a score of 9-8.
Game 1 – Cornell (13-18, 5-4 Ivy)
WP: Alexis Borden (6-8), 8.0 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
LP: Alyson Onyon (6-7), 5.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Cornell got off to a quick start, taking a 2-0 lead on a two-run shot from pitcher Meg Parker. Penn was able to get one back in the bottom of the first after senior tri-captain Elysse Gorney singled through the left side, knocking in junior tri-captain Sydney Turchin.
The Big Red started the top of the second off by walking two of the Quakers, putting them in prime running position with no outs. The Red and Blue capitalized on the opportunity, tying the score at two. However, Penn was unable to take the lead and left three stranded.
And then, the slugfest began.
Cornell worked the bats and placed the ball in spots throughout the field the Quakers didn’t occupy, scoring five runs on five hits. It was a 7-2 lead in favor of the Big Red, but the Red and Blue didn’t let it dampen their spirits.
After freshman Alexis Sargent reached on a base hit to right field, fellow freshman Leah Allen saw her cut connect perfectly with the ball and soar out of the park, bouncing off the light pole in right center. The bats had come alive and after giving up two more hits in the inning, Cornell replaced Parker in the circle with Alyson Onyon. Penn was unfazed and scored three more on doubles from Turchin and sophomore Kanani Datan to tie things right back up at 7-7.
Edging out to an 8-7 lead in the top of the fourth, the Big Red was able to hold onto that lead until the Red and Blue once again tied the contest up at 8-8 in the bottom of the fifth.
Both sides were unable to do anything in the sixth and seventh, recording zeros across the board and extending the game into extra innings.
A double from Big Red Taylor Goodin gave Cornell a scoring opportunity, but the visitors were unable to cash in on it and headed into the bottom of the eighth.
Datan led off for the Quakers in the home half of the eighth, tapping down a bunt and beating the throw to first. As the next two batters recorded outs, Allen approached the box. The pressure was on.
With only one ball called, Allen found her pitch and hit the sphere hard to center field, getting Datan home for the victory.
The outfielders led the way for the Quaker bats: Turchin (3 RBI) and Datan (2 RBI) were 2-for-4 in game one, while Allen (3 RBI) went 3-for-5 and hit her eighth home run of the season.
Game 2 – Cornell (13-19, 5-5 Ivy)
WP: Lauren Li (1-0), 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
LP: Alyson Onyon (6-8), 6.0 IP, 12 H, 9 ER, 4 BB, 2 K
Cornell started the game off with a 2-0 lead, only to see it switch to a two run deficit in the bottom half. Allen drove in the first two runs for Penn with a triple to center field. A double from senior Kayla Dahlerbruch knocked in Allen and a single to right field from Korinne Raby moved Dahlerbruch home for the 4-2 lead.
The Big Red scored a run in the next two innings and started the fifth tied up at 4-4.
Pitching for a second game in a row, junior Alexis Borden found herself in a sticky situation with bases loaded and two outs. As a ball got away from Borden, Cornell saw its first run scored in the inning. A double from lead-off Michiko McGivney put up two more, and head coach Leslie King decided it was time for a pitching change.
Sophomore Lauren Li, who was playing at short, relieved Borden of her duties and ended the inning with a strikeout.
Quaker magic was about to happen as Gorney was first at the plate for the Red and Blue.
Gorney, who had been struggling at the plate, put into play a crucial double to the left line. On a 1-0 count, Allen cleared the fence for her ninth home run of the season and put the team within one. Matching the Big Red’s three runs in the inning was freshman Alexis Sargent, who rocketed her sixth home run of the season out to where Allen hit hers.
But the home runs didn’t stop there, as Jenny Edwards hit a homer to the other side of the field, putting Cornell up by one, 8-7.
In the bottom of the sixth, Turchin and Datan hit back-to-back ground rule doubles and tied the game for one last time.
On two outs, Big Red pitcher Alyson Onyon decided to take her chances and intentionally walked Allen. However, the plan back fired and Sargent made them pay by hitting a single to right field that put Datan at home safely for the 9-8 lead.
It was shutdown Quaker defense, forcing the first two batters to ground out to Dahlerbruch at third. With the two outs, Cornell was back at the top of the order and McGivney walked to the plate. On the first pitch, she hit a high foul ball behind home plate that Gorney was able to catch for the final out.
For the second time this series, the freshmen duo -- Allen and Sargent -- hit back-to-back home runs. Allen (4 RBI) went a perfect 3-for-3 and hit her ninth home run, while Sargent (2 RBI) hit her sixth home run of the season and went 2-for-4.
Datan (1 RBI) once again went 2-for-4 at the plate. Dahlerbruch (1 RBI) went 1-for-2.
Team Stats against Cornell
In the series with the Big Red, freshman Leah Allen led the way in nine different categories. Allen finished the series with the most runs scored (5), hits (7), triples (1), home runs (3), RBI (8), and total bases (19). She also recorded the best batting average (.636), slugging percentage (1.727), and on base percentage (.714).
Sophomore Kanani Datan also played well in the Cornell series, going 6-for-11 and notched the second most hits (6) on the team. Datan recorded the second best batting average (.525), slugging percentage (.727), and on base percentage (.667).
Other notable performances include freshman Alexis Sargent’s .714 slugging percentage, two home runs, 5 RBI, and 10 total bases; junior tri-captain Sydney Turchin’s RBI (5), total bases (7), .500 slugging percentage, and most doubles (3).
Defensively, sophomore Lauren Li captured her first win of the season in the last game of the series, while junior Alexis Borden pitched two complete games, earning two wins and one shut out. Borden tossed eight strikeouts.