Penn 1, South Dakota 0 Box Score
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Pitching and defense were once again the name of the game for softball in its wins over Holy Cross and South Dakota on Thursday at the Rebel Spring Games. Locked in a scoreless pitcher's duel after four innings against Holy Cross, Penn (7-4) scored two runs in the bottom half of the fifth to tie the game. A walk-off RBI single from freshman Sydney Turchin in the bottom half of the seventh would then secure the 3-2 win.
In the second game, which was rematch of Tuesday's game with South Dakota, neither side could score until the top of the sixth inning when Penn finally pushed the first run of the game across the plate. Freshman Alexis Borden made that run stand up as Penn came away with the daily sweep in another one-run game against South Dakota. Borden has now thrown consecutive shutouts in her last two starts.
Penn 3, Holy Cross 2
After the day of rest Wednesday, Penn gave the ball to Mikenzie Voves on Thursday against Holy Cross. The Crusaders countered with Julia Barrett in the circle. Both starters would retire their respective sides in order in the first. Holy Cross would get its first hit of the game on a two-out single in the second. Penn would then threaten in the bottom of the second.
After two outs, Jessica Melendez doubled into the left centerfield gap. Samantha Erosa would then follow that up with single into centerfield, taking second on the throw home to hold Melendez at third. However, a line drive at the shortstop would get the Crusaders out of the inning.
Holy Cross would work a two-out walk and single in the third, but Voves would escape the inning with the swinging strikeout. Barrett would then set the Quakers' side down in order in her third. In the fourth, Holy Cross put its leadoff runner on base with a single and she moved into scoring position with a stolen base. However, Voves would get the next two hitters to pop balls up on the infield before taking the third out herself with another strikeout. Barrett would again set the Penn side down in order during the fourth.
The Crusaders started the fifth with another leadoff single. They tried to bunt her into scoring position, but Elysse Gorney jumped on the bunt and fired to second to get the force play. A walk then put runners on first and second with one out. The next batter dropped one down the left field line and it was overrun by the outfield, allowing two runs to score, one earned and one unearned.
However, with that batter on third and one out, Voves would get two straight outs, stranding the runner at third. The Quakers would quickly answer back with two of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Melendez led off the fifth with a single into left field and Erosa was hit by pitch to put the first two runners aboard. Bridget Ellsworth then executed the sacrifice bunt, moving both runners into scoring position. Stephanie Caso would then bring them both home, delivering the big hit with her two-RBI double down the left field line, tying the score at 2-2 heading to the sixth.
Each side would get one runner on in the sixth inning, but could not do anything further. Voves got through the Holy Cross side in order in the top half of the seventh, setting up the walk-off in the bottom half. To start the inning, Erosa singled with one down. She was then moved into scoring position when Ellsworth groundout out, but moved the runner up a base. Caso drew a walk and that brought Turchin to the plate. She would work the count to 2-1 before taking the next pitch right back the middle, scoring Erosa, and lifting Penn to the 3-2 win to start the day.
For the game, Voves went seven full innings for her second complete game of the season. Both of her wins have come in her last two starts, separated only by one appearance in relief. She allowed just five hits and two walks, while striking out a season-high six hitters. Of her two runs, only one was earned as she improved to 2-1 on the season.
Penn 1, South Dakota
In a rematch of Tuesday's 3-2 Quaker victory over South Dakota, Thursday's matchup would be just as tight. It was new pitchers for both sides as Erica Denney took the ball for the Coyotes alongside Borden for Penn.
Kayla Dahlerbruch drew a two-out walk in the first, but was stranded. In the bottom half, Borden set South Dakota down in succession, including a pair of strikeouts to the first two hitters that she faced. Penn was set down in order to start the second, but Borden again answered with three strikeouts in that same frame, while allowing just one walk for South Dakota's first runner of the game.
The Quakers would put two on in the third with Laura Placentra slapping a single down towards third base, followed by a Caso walk, but both runners would be stranded at inning's end. Two defensive misplays put Penn in a little bit of a jam in the bottom of the third with two outs, but Borden would settle things down, getting the infield pop-up to end the frame. Penn could muster nothing off Denney in the fourth. In the bottom half, Borden surrendered a single with one out, but got three strikeouts in the fourth, giving her nine total in the first four innings of play.
Karina Rios gave Penn its first leadoff runner on base when she drew a walk to start the fifth inning. After two outs trying to move her along, Turchin beat out an infield single, but Denney would escape Penn's fifth with a pop-up to the infield. South Dakota would also have the leadoff runner on to start its fifth, but she was also stranded on the base paths.
Dahlerbruch started the sixth inning off with another single that was knocked down on the infield. Justine Payne, who came in to run for her, was bunted into scoring position by Melendez with one out. Pinch-hitting, Gorney would then take her pitch up the middle, but it was knocked down by the shortstop holding Gorney to the infield hit. Trying anything to get a runner home, Payne tried to score all the way from second, but the shortstop recovered from her diving stop to make the throw home for the tag-out.
With Gorney on first and two down, she took off for second and swiped the bag to get another runner into scoring position. Erosa would make that a big stolen base when her single dropped in front of the leftfielder, scoring the first run of the game.
South Dakota got a one-out double in the bottom of the sixth, but another strikeout and grounder to third would send Penn to the seventh with a 1-0 lead. In the seventh, the Quakers could work just a walk as Denney gave her team one last chance. After two quick outs on the infield, a double put a Coyote runner in scoring position, but Borden would secure the complete game shutout victory with a groundout to first.
For the game, Borden went seven full innings and allowed just five hits. She walked just one hitter on the day, while striking out 11. She improved to 3-1 with the win and has now thrown shutouts in each of her last two starts. She has not allowed an earned run in any of her last five outings, a streak that spans 24.2 innings. Offensively for the two games combined, Erosa finished the day with three hits, while Turchin and Melendez each had two. Caso and Dahlerbruch were each on base three times today, getting one hit and walking twice.
Penn will now put a wrap on the Rebel Spring Games tomorrow morning against Akron (9 a.m.) and Manhattan (11 a.m.). These games will be played at Oren Brown, a field the Quakers have not played on yet this week.