PRINCETON, N.J. - The Penn softball team got off to a strong Ivy League start over the weekend as it took three of four games from Yale and Brown. Senior shortstop Christina Khosravi went nine-for-11, including two home runs and nine RBIs. Freshman pitcher Jessie Lupardus started and won the front end of both doubleheaders, and came out of the bullpen to shut down Brown and earn a third victory of the weekend on Sunday.
On Tuesday, both were honored by the Ivy League for their efforts. Khosravi was named the Ivy League Player of the Week while Lupardus, who has already been named the Pitcher of the Week twice, earned her first Rookie of the Week award.
Khosravi is turning up her game as the Quakers hit league play this weekend. She opened the weekend with a three-for-four showing in the front end of the Yale doubleheader. The Quakers fell behind 3-0 early but fought back in the latter innings. Khosravi sent the game to extra innings when she beat out an infield single that allowed Anna Puglisi to score the tying run with two outs in the seventh inning. The 2005 Ivy League Player of the Year followed that up with a double in her only official at bat in the second game, also tallying four walks.
Khosravi was only just beginning to heat up, though. Against Brown on Sunday, Khosravi signaled the beginning of a huge offensive day when she went with the pitch and drove a booming three-run homer to the opposite field in the first inning of the opener. That home run sparked a 4-0 victory for Penn. Then in the second game, Khosravi could not be stopped, going 4-for-4 with five RBIs and another home run, this one a two-run laser to leftwhich highlighted a six-run fourth inning that allowed the Quakers to take a 7-2 lead. Khosravi drove in five runs in the game, scoring two herself as the Quakers throttled the Bears, 11-3. In all, Khosravi reached base 14 of the 16 times she came to the plate as the Quakers jumped out to a 3-1 start in the Ivy League.
With three more wins this weekend, Penn freshman ace Jessie Lupardus has improved her record to 12-2 overall with an eye-popping ERA of 0.69. On Saturday, Lupardus went the distance in an eight-inning game, scattering eight hits and allowing just three early runs as the Quakers were able to make a comeback and win, 4-3. Then on Sunday, Lupardus tossed one of her more dominant outings of the year at the Brown Bears. Striking out nine while allowing just three hits and a walk over seven innings, Lupardus earned another shutout victory as Brown managed just one hit after the first inning.
In the second game, with the Quakers down 2-0 early, Lupardus came out of the bullpen and shut the Bears down. Allowing just one hit, a solo home run, the freshman hurler gave Penn a chance to come back yet again, and the Quakers rewarded her with a victory as they broke out for 11 runs, winning 11-3 in six innings.
Also recognized by the Ivy League was freshman catcher Alisha Prystowsky, who was named to the league's honor roll.
Already proving herself to be an expert handler of Penn’s young pitching staff, Prystowsky showed this weekend the improvement she has been making on the offensive end. With six hits over four games, Prystowsky drove in two and scored four runs. She opened the weekend with a 2-for-4 showing in the first game against Yale on Saturday. With the Quakers down 3-1 in the sixth inning, Prystowsky lined a single up the middle to bring home a run. After Penn tied the score with two outs in the seventh, Prystowsky led off the eighth by slicing a single to right. After moving up to second on a walk, Prystowsky came home on an RBI single by junior Anna Puglisi.
Against Brown, Prystowsky found herself batting third in the Quakers’ lineup. She had been a fixture in the sixth or seventh hole for Penn, but she made head coach Leslie King’s move pay off when she hustled down the line on a sacrifice bunt attempt in the first inning, forcing a wild throw. She came around to score on a three-run home run by Christina Khosravi. Prystowsky added a single later in the game. In Game Two, she singled and scored the Quakers’ first run of the game as Penn began to come back from an early 2-0 deficit. Then in the fourth, her infield single drove home Annie Kinsey and gave the Quakers a 3-2 lead. Prystowsky would come around to score on Khosravi’s two-run homer as Penn pulled away from Brown.
The Quakers are back in action tomorrow when they take on crosstown rival La Salle at Warren Field. The doubleheader is set to begin at 3 p.m.