PHILADELPHIA – The quest for an Ivy League Championship begins tomorrow for the University of Pennsylvania softball team. Penn (11-9, 0-0) will start its 37th season in the Ancient Eight with a 2 p.m. doubleheader against Brown at Penn Park. The Quakers will follow that up with a pair of contests against Yale on Saturday, beginning at noon.
Last Time Out
The Quakers dropped a pair of games to Lehigh on Wednesday afternoon. The pitchers led the way in the opener, as the game went scoreless into extra innings. Alexis Sargent tossed the first five zeros for Penn, before giving way to classmate Courtney Cuzick. Cuzick put together two scoreless frames, before allowing four runs to cross in the eighth.
In Game Two, the Quakers were unable to battle back from an early 6-0 deficit. Lauren Li and Leah Allen provided the only Penn offense in the fifth. Li tallied a RBI single to right, while Allen drove in a pair of runs with a triple to dead center. The Quakers fell 6-3 in the nightcap.
Ivy League Preview
Penn and Dartmouth have paced the Ancient Eight in recent years, and have met in the past three Ivy League Championship Series’. The Quakers earned the program’s second Ivy League title in 2013 (first NCAA bid), while the Big Green have won the past two conference titles.
The Quakers have won four-straight Ivy League South Division crowns, going 37-11 against Divisional foes (Princeton, Cornell, Columbia) during that stretch.Penn went 13-7 overall against the Ivies last season, including a 9-3 mark versus the South.
The Red and Blue have registered a record of .500 or better in the Ivy League during eight of the last nine seasons.
Scouting the Bears and Bulldogs
Brown and Yale each enter the weekend with 3-1 records over their last four contests. The Bears are 11-8 overall, while the Elis begin the weekend with a mark of 7-15.
Brown’s Julia Schoenewald has proved to be one of the best hitters in the Ivy League this season, leading the conference with a .457 batting average. The junior began the year on a ten-game hitting streak, and has knocks in 15 of her 18 games played.
Brown and Yale placed third and fourth in the North Division last season, combining to go 12-27 in the league. Penn lost three of four during its road trip to New England a year ago.
Quaker Quick Hits
*With five shutout frames on Wednesday, Alexis Sargent lowered her ERA to 0.93 in 60.1 innings this season—which ranks eighth in the nation. She has allowed just one earned run over her last 33 innings of action.
*Prior to Wednesday’s five-inning effort, Sargent had tossed seven-consecutive complete games. She leads the Ivy League in almost every pitching category, including wins (8) and strikeouts (63).
*Sargent has won three-consecutive Ivy League Pitcher of the Week awards, while Leah Allen has been chosen as the Player of the Week on back-to-back occasions.
*Allen has 19 RBI over her last 10 games, and leads the Ancient Eight with 25 this season. Allen is second in the conference in home runs (5), and stands three shy of Penn’s all-time record in long balls—which is 24.
*Sam Pederson has been a catalyst at the top of the order for Penn, and currently ranks second in the Ancient Eight in batting average (.400). Over the Quakers' last six games, she is 9-for-22 with five runs scored.
*Senior captain Lauren Li has been equally as hot over her last six contests, going 8-for-20 with three walks. She leads the Quakers and is third in the Ivy League with 24 hits this season.