Softball Earns Home Field in ILCS; Sweeps Columbia on Saturday

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Game 1: Penn 2, Columbia 1 (9 innings)
Game 2: Penn 12, Columbia 4 (6 innings)

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania softball team (28-17, 16-4 Ivy) earned home field advantage for the Ivy League Championship Series for the first time in program history on Saturday afternoon with its two-game sweep of Columbia (22-26, 8-12) at Penn Park. The Quakers waited out the Lions in Game 1 with a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth for the 2-1 win. Then in Game 2, Penn jumped all over Columbia for the 12-4 victory in six innings.

Game 1
WP: Alexis Borden (15-9), 9 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 6 K

LP: Emily Kenyon (10-11), 8.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, BB, 6 K

The first half of Saturday’s doubleheader featured a pair of top tier Ivy League pitchers in Alexis Borden and Columbia’s Emily Kenyon. Borden came out the winner as the sophomore threw nine innings of one-run ball before Penn won it in the bottom of the ninth courtesy of a Jessica Arneson walk-off solo home run off the left field foul pole.

The Quakers struck first in the bottom half of inning number one. With a runner on second and two outs, Brooke Coloma would hit what looked to be a routine pop fly to shallow left-centerfield. The Columbia shortstop got under the ball but lost it in the sun, turning the play into an RBI-double for Coloma. The Lions would get one back to even things up in the top of the third via a solo home run.

Borden would hit some trouble in the top of the fifth inning when Columbia had a runner advance to third on a passed ball with just one out. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native proceeded to strike out the next two Lion batters, getting herself out of the jam. She would face some turmoil once again, this time in the top of the ninth. Columbia had runners on the corners with two outs, when its rightfielder hit a tough fly to left-center. Jessica Melendez showed off her range out in center by making the play to end the half inning.

In the bottom of the ninth – the second extra inning of Game 1 – the Quakers found themselves in a two-out situation with the bases empty. Arneson, who was 0-2 at this point in the contest, stepped into the batter’s box. With the count at 1-1, the senior quad-captain would highlight her Senior Day with a solo home run down the leftfield line, bouncing it off the fair side of the leftfield foul pole for the walk-off victory. Her efforts, coupled with Borden’s outstanding performance in the circle, put the Quakers one step closer to their goal of hosting the ILCS.

Game 2
WP: Lindsay Mann (6-2), 4 IP, 9 H, 4 R (3 ER)

LP: Brooke Darling (10-11), 0.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R (4 ER), K

The Red and Blue would not wait to produce offensively in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader, putting five runs on the board in the home half of the first. Coloma started it off with a single up the middle to score Elysse Gorney from second. Then two batters later, Georgia Guttadauro would continue her stellar junior season with her fifth home run of the year, this one coming in grand-slam-fashion with the bases juiced.

In the top of the second, Lindsay Mann would show off her experience by getting herself out of a tough jam. The first two Columbia batters in the inning would reach safely via two Penn fielding errors, putting Mann in the early hole. But, with the bases loaded with Lions and no outs, Mann would stay composed and get the batter to line out to short – Stephanie Caso would then throw the runner out at third for the double play. Mann would get the next batter to ground out to first to escape the inning unscathed.

Leading 5-0 after one, Penn would strike again in the bottom of the third. With runners on first and second and one out, Coloma would steal third for her 16th stolen bag of the season to tie Penn’s single-season record. Guttadauro would step into the box next and smack a single through the right side to score Coloma. Arneson would be the next batter, and she would reach on an RBI-fielder’s choice for another run. After Columbia changed their pitcher for a second time in the game, Caso would approach the plate with the bases loaded. The senior would single up the middle for two more runs, stretching the Quakers’ lead to 9-0.

Mann would see her day end in the top of the fifth as Columbia got to her for four runs, three earned, without recording an out. She would leave the game as the pitcher of record four Penn and ultimately end up with the victory. Lauren Li entered in relief after a three-run homer by the Lions. The freshman would face three batters and get three outs for the Quakers, sending them into the home half without any further damage.

After a couple quiet half innings in which neither team reached base, Penn would finish off the contest in the bottom of the sixth. Samantha Erosa would get things started with a one-out single to center and Kayla Dahlerbruch followed that up with a double to left. Coloma would reach safely on a fielder’s choice in the next at-bat, but Erosa would get tagged out in a pickle between third and home on the play. With runners on the corners, Coloma would steal second base for her second of the day and 17th of the season, setting a new Penn single-season record. Melendez would be up next and smack a two-RBI-single through the left side, advancing to second on the throw home. Then, needing just one run to end the game early, Guttadauro would reach on an error by the Columbia second baseman. Melendez would score on the play to end the second game in walk-off fashion as well.

The Quakers will be back in action next weekend when they host either Dartmouth or Harvard for the ILCS. Since the instillation of division play by the Ivy League in 2007, no home team has ever lost the championship. Check back with for the final game times and make sure to follow @UPennSoftball for live in-game updates and conversation all weekend long – live stats will be available HERE as well.

Download: Penn-Columbia (1) 4-27-13.pdf