Softball Drops a Pair on Final Day of Rebel Spring Games

Loyola Box Score

Valparaiso Box Score

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Softball concluded the Rebel Spring Games with a pair of losses on Friday, culminating a week that has seen much more positives than anything else during the team's first week of competition. Penn lost to Loyola 11-0 in five innings to start off the day and finished with an 11-5 defeat at the hands of Valparaiso. The Quakers wrapped up the week with a 5-3 record, which included a five-game winning streak between their opening loss and the two defeats today.

Loyola 11 Penn 0

All week long, it seemed as if Penn was the team that was constantly jumping out to the early lead and building upon that lead in the later innings. In the opening game against Loyola, it was the Rambler's lead-off hitter, Brooke Andreson, who drove the ball over the center-field fence for a home run to give Loyola the early advantage. Despite the early blast, Penn regained its composure for the inning and only allowed one more base runner before setting the side down and coming to bat.

The first inning would prove to be Penn's best chance to score in the game. Elysse Gorney drew a lead-off walk to get the inning started and Stephanie Caso singled through the left side to put runners on first and second with nobody down. Alisha Prystowsky grounded out to the shortstop, but was able to advance the runners over to second and third. That brought Brooke Coloma to the plate, who then walked to load the bases.

Loyola was not going to take any more chances with its pitcher who was having trouble locating the strike zone. The Ramblers brought in Brittany Gardner to mitigate the damage and she would do just that. The first batter she faced was Kelsey Wolfe, who would ground the ball to short. Trying to cut down the run early on in the game, Loyola came home to get the force at the plate for the second out of the inning. Loyola got out of the first-inning jam with no damage when Penn ended the inning with an infield fly that was taken by the pitcher.

In the top of the second, Loyola would extend its lead to 6-0 courtesy of five more runs in the inning. After allowing a lead-off walk and RBI double to start the inning, Loyola stole third base and would score on a defensive error to make the score 3-0 for the time being. Penn got the next two batters out on grounders to Caso and Samantha Erosa and looked like it was going to avoid the big inning. On the contrary, Andreson, who homered earlier, laid down a bunt single to keep the inning alive. Another single and a passed ball put runners on second and third with two out. A two-out single brought them both in. The Loyola hitter who singled would come around to score on another Penn error, making the score 6-0.

Penn could not push any runs across in the second or third as the score remained 6-0. In the fourth, Loyola broke the game open with another five run inning. The big blow came courtesy of three-run home run. The Ramblers would tack on three more after that to make it 11-0.

From that point on, just as she had done all game long, Gardner minimized a Quaker offense that had been firing on all cylinders coming into this game. From the time she entered in the game in the first inning until the fifth inning, Gardner retired 13 of Penn's 14 hitters. The lone base runner during that streak was Erosa, who walked back in the second inning. Gorney singled to break up that stretch in the final inning, but a strikeout looking ended the game 11-0 after five innings.

Valparaiso 11 Penn 5

In the second game, Penn got down early on again when two Valparaiso doubles came around to score in the bottom half of the first. Neither team could get on the scoreboard during the second inning.

In the third inning, Penn got one runner on in the top of the inning but could not move her around the bases. In the bottom half, following two singles and a hit by pitch to load the bases, Penn induced a fly out to center which held the runners at their current stations with two outs. That brought Valparaiso's Kesley Phalen to the plate. She found her pitch and drove it to the right-centerfield gap, clearing the fence for a grand slam to make the score 6-0. Another single and three walks to force in a run brought on a pitching change. Mikenzie Voves would get the final out of the inning when she got Sara Strickland to ground out to third. In the fourth, Valparaiso added another run to the board with KC Boldt's home run to center field.

Penn would get back into the game during the fifth inning. Jessica Melendez got the inning stared with a single. Gorney then moved her into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Caso would bring her home with a single back through the middle and into centerfield to put the Quaker's first run of the day on the board. Prystowsky followed Caso with a single of her own through the right side to put runners on the corners with one out. Coloma then delivered Penn's second run of the day with a double into left field that scored Caso and sent Prystowsky to third. Kayla Dahlerbruch took a pitch right back through the middle to score two more runs on her single.

This prompted Valparaiso to make a pitching change with Penn gaining momentum and closing the gap. Laura Placentra then came in to run for Dahlerbruch. Following a fly out, Placentra stole second base, making a great slide the beat the tag to second, keeping the inning alive. After the stolen base, Kristen Johnson walked, putting runners on first and second with two outs. With two very meaningful runners on the base paths, Penn went to the bench, bringing up Meg Krasne to pinch-hit. Krasne battled the entire at-bat, just trying to find a way to keep the inning going. However, the inning would come to an abrupt end when Krasne tried to call for time with the count 2-2. However, the umpire did not grant Krasne her request. Thinking that the umpire had given time, Krasne stepped out anyways and with the batter box vacated, Valparaiso's pitcher threw a pitch right down the middle for a called strike three, bringing the inning to a close with Penn having cut the Valparaiso lead in half, although it would have liked to get much more.

Valparaiso would add another run in the bottom half of the fourth to make the score 9-4 after five innings. In the top of the fifth, Melendez led off and got on base again, this time with a walk to start the inning. Following an out, Caso singled through the right side, moving Melendez over to third with one out. After a strikeout put two away, Coloma also singled through the right side of the defense, this time scoring Melendez to make the score 9-5. A ground out to third would end the inning for Penn.

Valparaiso would add two more runs in the bottom of the sixth on defensive miscues to extend the lead and Penn could not rally in the seventh, with only Johnson being able to reach base. Penn was only out-hit in the game 12-11, but the final score was still 11-5 in favor of Valparaiso.

Despite the outcome of Friday's game, Penn still had three players who saw regular action bat over .400 as Coloma, Prystowsky, and Caso batted .462, .440, and .409 respectively in Florida. In addition, Dahlerbruch, Gorney, and Erosa all hit over .300 with batting averages of .391, .346, and .308.

Penn will now make the trip back to Philadelphia tomorrow following the week-long stint in Florida. The Quakers will have a quick turnaround and immediate opportunity to get back on the winning track when they play their home-opener on Wednesday against Saint Joseph's with the double-header beginning at 2:30 p.m. The team will also be in action this coming Friday as Syracuse comes to Penn for two games beginning at 2 p.m.