Penn Downs Villanova, 3-1, in Spring Invitational Opener

Penn 3, Villanova 1 Box Score

PHILADELPHIA - Runs were hard to come by on Friday, but the Quakers (11-9) took advantage of some key opportunities, claiming a 3-1 victory over Villanova (17-5) in the opening game of the Penn Spring Invitational. In the circle, freshman Alexis Borden allowed just one unearned run in her final inning of work to pick up the complete game win.

Sydney Turchin broke the scoreless game in the second inning with a key two-out double. Jessica Melendez also hit the first home run at Penn Park during the spring season with a solo shot over the left field wall in the fourth inning for Penn's only runs.

Borden would set the tone early, putting down the Wildcats' side in order in the first. However, Villanova's starter, Caitlyn Delahaba, would allow just a walk to Kayla Dahlerbruch in the bottom half. Borden went right back to work in the second, retiring the side in order again, including two more strikeouts, giving her three in the first two innings.

The Quakers would get on the board first in their half of the second. Georgia Guttadauro got things going with a leadoff single. She was then bunted into scoring position by Samantha Erosa. After a Melendez walk, Delahaba got a strikeout to put two away. Stephanie Caso kept the inning going as she worked Penn's second walk of the inning to load the bases. With two down, Turchin would bring home two with her first collegiate extra base hit, a double into the left centerfield gap, giving Penn a 2-0 advantage early.

With the lead, Borden would only allow a single with one out in the third inning to reach in her next two innings of work. She started the game by retiring 12 of the first 13 batters that she faced through four innings. Her counterpart would also settle down and retire the Quakers' side in rotation in the third.

Penn would add a final insurance run in the fourth inning. With one out, Melendez homered to deep left field for the first home run this spring at Penn Park. In the process, she became just the second Quaker to hit a home run this season and extended her team's lead to 3-0.

Villanova would have its first scoring chance in the fifth inning. After back-to-back one-out singles, the Wildcats executed the sacrifice bunt to put a pair of runners in scoring position, but Borden would escape the jam with an infield groundout. Elysse Gorney and Brooke Coloma would each single in the bottom half of the inning, but Delahaba would end up stranding both of those runners.

In the sixth, Borden would again retire the side in succession for the fourth time in her first six innings. Erosa would lead off Penn's sixth with a single, but the Quakers could not do anything offensively after the leadoff hit and went to the seventh up 3-0.

After a quick out, Villanova's first runner of the seventh reached on an error. She would then advance into scoring position on a wild pitch. A single into left field would set up an interesting scenario as the batter got caught in between first and second.

Penn would trade the run on third for an out, getting the batter in the unconventional rundown for the second out of the inning as the runner from third scored. With nobody on and two outs, the Wildcats would bring the tying run to the plate with a single on the next at-bat, but a groundout to third would give Penn a win to start its own tournament.

Borden picked up her seventh win of the season, going a complete game for the seventh straight start. She struck out just three, but only allowed five hits and surrendered no walks. Penn's six hits were spread among six different players, while eight of the nine starters reached base at some point.

In the second game of the invitational tournament, Rider (7-15-1) beat Army (12-10), 2-1 in eight innings.

Penn will now play Rider in its opening game tomorrow in a scheduled 11:15 a.m. start. Villanova and Army will get the day started with a 9 a.m. game. In the third game of the day, Penn will play Army in a scheduled 1:30 p.m. start. The final game of pool play will see Rider play Villanova at 3:45 p.m.