KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The bats were still asleep as the Penn softball team took the field at 9 a.m. on Tuesday at the Rebel Spring Games, but some timely plays and continued strong pitching from freshman Jessie Lupardus helped the Quakers put together a 1-0 victory over Robert Morris. Lupardus (5-1) pitched her second consecutive complete game shutout, scattering seven hits and escaping from a seventh inning jam with a little defensive help from senior tri-captain Annie Kinsey.
Lupardus, who shutout Butler on Monday, a day after the Bulldogs tagged Penn for seven runs, had her most impressive strikeout performance of the season, sitting down nine Robert Morris hitters. She struck out the side in the third inning.
As much as Lupardus was shutting down the Robert Morris bats, Brenna Reed was doing the same to Penn. Kinsey doubled in the first inning and freshman Diana Ark singled to lead off the third, but that was all the Quakers could muster.
Penn scored in the fourth inning without the benefit of a hit. A brief wild spell from Reed allowed freshman Taylor Tieman and senior tri-captain Christina Khosravi to lead off the inning with back-to-back walks. After freshman Bridget McDugall pinch ran for Tieman, freshman Alisha Prystowsky bunted both runners up. McDugall scored on a slow roller up the third base line by freshman Kelsey Wolfe. The third baseman had only one play at first base, and the Quakers were on the board.
That would prove to be enough for Lupardus, who cruised through the fifth and sixth innings, stranding doubles in each frame. A tremendous over-the-shoulder catch from Khosravi highlighted the fifth inning as Penn once again kept Robert Morris off the scoreboard.
In the seventh, though, Robert Morris threatened. Pinch hitter Stacy Yusko smashed a double down the left field line, and after Annie Dubovec struck out, Stacy Davidson knocked a single deep in the hole between short and third, beating out a throw from Khosravi. With runners on the corners, Reed came to the plate. She smashed a hot shot to the right of Kinsey at second base. It looked like it would get through and tie the game, but Kinsey dove and snared it, then got to her feet and threw out Reed by half a step to end the game.
Penn improved its record to 6-3. Interestingly, the victory was the first for the Quakers this season where they did not total four runs scored. That much would have been excessive, though, as another brilliant performance from the freshman Lupardus gave the Quakers their third straight win and improved their record to 4-1 at the Rebel Spring Games.